In unpleasant military aviation news, I woke up to news that there was a military aviation crash in south Georgia yesterday afternoon. WSAV in Savannah and the Beaufort Gazette are reporting that an F/A-18D from the 2nd MAW at MCAS Beaufort crashed yesterday afternoon near Statenville, GA in Echols County. Although details are scant, the media is reporting that there are no fatalities; both pilots ejected and were transported to South Georgia Medical Center for treatment. It appears from what I’ve seen that it crashed in a wooded area. WALB also had coverage from near the scene yesterday evening. It sounds like the wreckage wasn’t located yet at the time of WALB’s report and that a search will resume this morning.
Note: I’m pretty sure I know which squadron was involved but since I don’t know if families have been notified yet, I’m not going to state which one it was.
Update (1830 hrs, 23 Feb 2015): The aircrew’s names have been released so I’ll add the squadron the aircraft and crew was from: VMFA(AW)-224. I just didn’t feel comfortable including it this morning without knowing if the families had been notified. An article from the Havelock News states that they were conducting low altitude training in the Moody MOA when the crash occurred. The article states that they ejected after getting warning lights:
“One of them just said that a warning light went off and they didn’t have but a few seconds to make a decision,” Chandler Register said. “I guess when that warning light went off they had to make a choice, but that’s all they said.”
That Havelock News article is the best report I’ve seen on the crash and is worth a read. Today’s news reports have the aircraft coming down in a swampy area, so it may be awhile before it’s recovered. The last time I know of one of VMFA(AW)-224’s aircraft crashing was five years ago in March 2010.