Three crew members presumed dead after EA-6B crashes in eastern Washington State
The EA-6B Prowler took off from Whidbey Island, a Naval Air Station on Puget Sound in Washington. The craft crashed Monday morning in Eastern Washington, near the town of Harrington. Images of the crash site show much of the plane disintegrated on impact.
A U.S. Navy aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island crashed in Eastern Washington on Monday morning, and all three crew members on board died, authorities said.
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The E/A-6B Prowler was reported to have crashed at about 8:45 a.m. Monday, Whidbey Island officials said.
The Navy informed Congress that the wingman of the crashed plane reported that no parachutes were deployed.
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Officials wouldn’t immediately identify those on board. The survivors are described as a pilot and a male passenger. The plane was owned and operated by the Vein Guys medical center, and the passengers apparently worked for the firm.
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“First responders are on the scene and have reported finding partial remains of the mishap aircrew,” the Navy informed Congress. “All three onboard are presumed dead.”
The identities of the crew were not immediately available. The Prowler was “engaged in a low-level navigation training mission,” the Navy told Congress. Whidbey Island officials said the cause of the accident was under investigation. NAS
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Whidbey Island is home to the U.S. Navy’s tactical electronic warfare squadrons. Crews from the base, located on Puget Sound, regularly fly across Eastern Washington for training exercises.
The crash occurred in a rural area between the towns of Harrington and Odessa, about 50 miles west of Spokane. Aerial views of the crash site showed a large crater in a farm field, surrounded by blackened vegetation. Much of the plane appeared to have disintegrated on impact.
“You could see smoke and bits of plane in the middle of the field,” local resident HaLee Walter told KREM-TV after visiting the crash site.
The Prowler specializes in electronic warfare such as jamming enemy radar and intercepting radio transmissions. It can also be equipped with missiles.
Whidbey Island officials said the plane that crashed was attached to Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-129.
Source: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - 16 March 2013
Photo: The U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowler is shown (actual aircraft not pictured). Such a military aircraft crashed Monday morning near the Eastern Washington town of Harrington. All three crew members died in the crash. (Photo by PH2 Michael J. Pusnik, Jr./U.S Navy)