13 July 1992 –  A McDonnell-Douglas F-15C-40-MC Eagle #85-0116, of the 60th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, based at Eglin AFB, Florida, crashed at 0900 hrs. in the Gulf of Mexico, 90 miles S of Eglin AFB. The pilot, Capt. Darren S. Ruhnau, 27, assigned to the 60th Fighter Squadron, ejected safely.

Ruhnau was on a training mission when the crash occurred.

“I’m just glad the ACES II ejection system worked as advertised”, Ruhnau said in a statement, “and that the search-and-rescue guys were there to do the job.” “He was picked up by an oil freighter”, said Capt. Susan Brown, a spokeswoman for the 33rd, but the helicopter crew “couldn’t get him off there. They transferred him to a Coast Guard cutter, but they couldn’t get him off there either.

He was in such good shape, they dropped him back in the water, and picked him up from there.” A U.S. Navy HC-16 helicopter from the USS Forrestal, which is based in Pensacola, plucked him from the Gulf at ~1000 hrs. and transported him to Eglin Regional Hospital where he was checked out and released.

Ruhnau had been flying F-15’s since May 1989 and assigned at Eglin since September of that year.

On the same day in an unrelated incident, another 33rd Fighter Wing F-15 made a rough landing, overshot the runway at Eglin and came to a stop in the grass. The pilot, assigned to the 59th Fighter Squadron, did not eject and was uninjured. The aircraft sustained less than $10,000 damage.

Source: Portal:Aviation/Anniversaries/July 13 – Wikipedia

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