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US Navy plane crashes over Virginia; all 4 parachute out safely

An E-2C Hawkeye, assigned to Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120, approaches the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Atlantic Ocean, Dec. 6, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua L. Leonard)
September 01, 2020

A U.S. Navy E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft crashed near Wallops Island in Virginia on Monday afternoon during a training flight, and four service members were forced to evacuate.

In a press release, the Navy said the crash took place at approximately 4:05 p.m EST. Two pilots and two crew members were able to safely bail out of the aircraft before it went down.

In a statement provided to USNI News, Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg of Naval Air Force Atlantic said, “The two pilots and two crewmembers bailed out of the aircraft safely through the main cabin door. At the time of the crash, the E-2 was conducting a training flight. The pilots and aircrew bailed out of the aircraft using parachutes located in the aircraft. The crew are required to strap on the parachutes when they get aboard the aircraft.”

USNI News reported the crew was safely recovered.

The plane crashed into a soybean field and WAVY News photographer Jeff Myers tweeted helicopter footage overlooking the crash site. “Chopper 10 video: 2 pilots and 2 crew members are safe after their Norfolk-based Navy E-2C Hawkeye plane crashes in Accomack County just before 4pm today. No structures were damaged or personnel injured.”

The E-2C Hawkeye, assigned to Airborne Command & Control Squadron 120 Fleet Replacement Squadron (VAW 120), is based out of Naval Air Station Norfolk.

The Navy press release stated no people on the ground were injured and no structures were damaged in the crash.

The cause of the crash was not clear and is under investigation.

The Navy has routinely used a landing strip on Wallops Island for field carrier landing practice.

According to the company fact sheet, the E-2 Hawkeye, developed by Northrop Grumman is an all-weather, carrier-capable aircraft used for airborne early warning as well as battle management (BM). The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the more advanced version of the aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with a distinctive radar dish that sits over the wings of the aircraft.

In January a U.S. Air Force E-11A surveillance aircraft crashed over Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, and its crew of two airmen were killed. The aircraft, which looked like a private business jet, was fitted with electronic surveillance and signal relay systems.