A Navy aircraft has crashed in Washington State, killing at least three people. The accident occurred in a known training area for naval aircraft, two jets were seen flying over the terrain, one returned back to base because it was low on fuel, the other, tragically crashed. Here's what we know so far.
1. The Plane Went Down between Harrington and Odessa, West of Spokane
More specifically it occurred at an intersection of Coffee Pot Rd. and Duck Lake Lamona Rd.
2. Three People Are Dead
Krem.com reports that three people have died as a result of the crash, and that there are no survivors. The aircraft in question is known to usually have a crew of four.
3. The Plane Was Flying Out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station
According to the bases website, Whidbey is the:
...premier naval aviation installation in the Pacific Northwest
4. The Craft Was an EA-6B Prowler
According to Navy.mil:
The Prowler is a long-range, all-weather aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures capability. Manufactured by the Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, it is a twin-engine, mid-wing configured aircraft that has a side by-side cockpit arrangement.
The planes are built by Northrop Grunman Systems Corporation.
5. The Crash Took Place Around 8:30 a.m. Local Time
Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said that his office were alerted to a call about the EA-6B crash just prior to 9 a.m. His office was securing the area until investigators arrive. The investigation will be led by officials from the Whidbey base.
6. The Cause is Unknown
The details of what caused the crash are still unknown. Most of the EA-6B are regarded as an aging fleet and are due to be replaced by the EA-18G Growler.
7. Witnesses Heard a Loud "Boom"
Witnesses told KREM, that an "incredible boom" was heard just prior to the plane crash. HaLee Walter, a witness, told KOMONews.com:
I went outside and of course I could see the smoke, the ambulance and police and fire trucks were all there and a plane had gone down and there was still another military aircraft circling.
8. The Area is Commonly Used for Naval Training Exercises
The base at Whidbey is the home of the U.S. Navy's tactical electronic warfare squadrons. Mike Edding, a spokesman for the base told the Whitbey News Times:
I understand they were training out there, We have training routes in Eastern Washington and Oregon.
9. There Has Been a History of Accidents Involving the EA-6B
In 1998, a EA-6B flying near a cable car line in Cavalese, Italy, accidently cut the line, it resulted in the deaths of 20 civilians. The incident strained relations between the US and Italy. Later on that year, on board the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, a EA-6B collided with an S-3 Viking jet, knocking the Prowler into the water resulting in the deaths of all crew members off the Virginia coast.
10. There's a Memorial at Whitbey Island Dedicated to Crew Members Who've Previously Died in EA-6B accidents
A memorial was opened in November 1998 at Whidbey Naval Base in celebration of all of those of have died while flying EA-6B Prowlers, in total 44 servicemen and women have died in accidents related to the aircraft.