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1 killed, 2 injured in US Navy plane crash

A U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, assigned to the Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 121, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, takes off during Checkered Flag 21-2 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, May 11, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Brad Sturk)
March 31, 2022

One flight crew member was killed and two more were injured after a U.S. Navy E-2D Hawkeye crashed off the coast of Virginia on Wednesday night.

The E-2D tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft crashed near NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Chincoteague, Va. around 7:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

In a press release late Thursday night, the Navy announced Maryland State Police had since rescued and transported two flight crew members on board to Wallops Island for follow-on medical treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.

According to previous local public safety radio, emergency responders said they had recovered two passengers at the scene in the water with injuries. Those two passengers were recovered via boat and transported to the hospital. At least one of the two passengers was reported to have broken legs.

The Navy announced a third crew member was found deceased in the crashed aircraft. Previous local reports indicated the crew member had been missing, but later indicated the individual was last seen on board the plane. The Navy press statement comes as confirmation that the crew member had in fact died at the crash site.

A dive team from the Worcester County Fire Department in Maryland supported the search and recovery of the deceased crew member.

The name of the deceased crew member is being withheld, pending the Navy’s next of kin notifications.

The E-2D belonged to an unspecified East Coast Airborne Command and Control Squadron. The exact cause of the crash is unknown and remains under investigation.

The crash comes less than two weeks after a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft crashed in northern Norway, killing four U.S. Marines on board. The four Marines were assigned to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, and were participating in Exercise Cold Response 22 in Norway.

The Navy crash Wednesday night was originally reported to be a V-22 Osprey, before authorities revealed it to be an E-2.

Another Navy E-2C Hawkeye crashed near Wallops Island in September 2020, but the plane’s two pilots and two additional flight crew members bailed out of the aircraft through the main cabin door, using worn parachutes to safely evacuate the aircraft before it went down. That aircraft crashed into a soybean field. No people on the ground were injured and no structures were damaged in the crash.

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.