A Navy tactical early warning plane went down in the area of Chincoteague Bay Thursday evening with three crew members on board. One was found dead and two others suffered injuries but were rescued by Maryland State Police.
The Norfolk-based E-2D Hawkeye crashed near Wildcat Marsh, not far from Wallops Island, around 7:30 p.m. Thursday according to a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman. USCG dispatched a helicopter and boat crew to the scene.
The crash prompted a huge response from local and regional emergency crews. In addition to the Coast Guard and state police, Stockton, Salisbury, Pocomoke City, Girdletree, Snow Hill, Ocean City, and Worcester County all had crews involved—and that’s just on the Maryland side.
Naval Air Force Atlantic says the sailor who lost their life was found dead in the aircraft. The Worcester County Fire Department Dive Team supported the search and recovery. That crew member’s name has not yet been released.
The other two crew members were rescued and taken to Wallops Island to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The E-2D Hawkeye is an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft described by builder Northrop Grumman as a “digital quarterback” in battle. It is equipped with the most advanced airborne radar in the world, the Navy says, with “the ability to coordinate concurrent missions that may arise during a single flight, to include: airborne strike, land force support, rescue operations, managing a reliable communications network between widely dispersed nodes and support for drug interdiction operations.”
The Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic says the crash is under investigation. Bay Bulletin will be sure to report any updates as they’re released.
-Meg Walburn Viviano