A Navy plane on a routine training flight crashed in the Atlantic Ocean 75 miles north of Puerto Rico, killing all five aviators on board, a Navy spokesman said Saturday.
It was the second plane from the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy to crash within the past two weeks. On July 24, one crashed off Puerto Rico, killing the pilot.Cmdr. Stephen Honda said the crew, assigned to the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126, was flying from the Kennedy in clear weather when the crash occurred just before 6 p.m. Friday.
Before the crash, the plane's Norfolk-based crew radioed that it was in trouble and was returning to the carrier.
The crash occurred as the plane was approaching the carrier, said Lt. Mark Walker, a Navy spokesman in Washington. He said the plane was trying to land on the carrier when it fell into the ocean four miles from the ship's rear.
Honda said he had no immediate information on whether searchers had recovered the bodies or the aircraft. "The E-2C has an excellent safety record," Honda said. The craft has been in service since 1961.
The aviators killed Friday were identified as Lt. Cmdr. Alan M. McLachlen, 33, of Virginia Beach; Lt. Michael F. Horowitz, 27, of Atlanta; Lt. Tristram E. Farmer, 26, of Trevett, Maine; Lt. j.g. Thomas D. Plautz, 28, of Norfolk; and Lt. j.g. Richard Siter Jr., 24, of Latham, N.Y.