Three Whidbey fliers survive Prowler crash

A jet from a Whidbey Island Naval Air Station squadron crashed Thursday afternoon on the Olympic Peninsula. All three crew members survived.

The air station lost contact with the EA-6B Prowler from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 at about 1:30 Thursday afternoon. It was flying a routine training mission when it crashed near Forks.

The aircraft was piloted by a Navy pilot and a second Navy officer was at the electronic controls. The third crew member is a Marine who was training on the electronic equipment.

The crew apparently ejected from the jet and was later recovered by a Navy helicopter and a Coast Guard helicopter within two hours. One helicopter picked up two crew members and the other picked up the third.

Two crew members were relatively unharmed and were returned to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, and the third crew member, the 25-year-old Marine, was taken to a hospital with a broken leg, Navy officials confirmed.

The crew member with the broken leg was hospitalized and remained in stable condition on Friday, said Lt. Kyra Hawn of Naval Air Forces Pacific Fleet in San Diego, Ca.

Names of the crew will never be released, said a public affairs spokesperson at Naval Air Forces Pacific Fleet, which is handling all requests for information about the incident.

Naval Air Forces Pacific Fleet personnel were unable to answer further questions, spokespersons said, citing “operational security.”

General information on the mission of the Prowler crew states that the aircraft is used for tactical electronic warfare. The mission of VAQ-129 is to train all Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force aircrew that will fly in the Prowler, according to a press release from Air Pac in San Diego.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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