Crew safe after Prowler crashes

Four crew members in an EA-6B Prowler ejected safely before the aircraft crashed in a remote area of northeastern Oregon Friday morning.

The aircraft was attached to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135, which is stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and aboard USS Nimitz. The plane was on a routine training mission when it went down in an unpopulated area, the Navy reported.

Steve Sautter, a spokesman for the emergency operations center in Umatilla County in Oregon, said dispatchers received a call at 11:28 a.m. of an airplane down and four parachutes in the air.

He describes the crash site as a remote, desert-like area populated mainly with sagebrush. He said it’s not far from a military bombing range.

“We’ve sealed the air space,” Sautter said, “and the military will seal the entire area off.”

He said the weather was sunny at the time of the crash. He didn’t receive any reports of fire.

The four members of the air crew were transported to a hospital in the area as a precaution, though there was no report of injuries. Their names were not available as of Friday afternoon.

The Navy is investigating the cause of the accident.

According to the Navy, the EA-6B Prowler is a four-seat long-range, all-weather jet aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures capability. The Prowler provides an umbrella of protection for strike aircraft, ground troops and ships by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links and communications.

VAQ-135, the “Black Ravens,” participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom last year from the Arabian Gulf and Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, providing critical support to ground forces.

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