Navy Plane Crashes in Lincoln County From Unknown Causes – Unexploded Rockets May Still Be in Area
Military and FAA officials continue to search a square-mile radius in Lincoln County for parts to downed aircraft.
Around 8:30 a.m. a Navy EA-6B Prowler was performing maneuvers in the skies over farmland between Odessa and Harrington when, according to witnesses, the plane went straight down in a dive and crashed.
Witnesses said there was a terrific explosion then a plume of smoke. Navy officials have confirmed all three crew members died in the crash that left a large crater. The force of the impact scattered debris for hundreds of yards. Aerial photos do not show any recognizable pieces of the plane (photo courtesy of KNDU-KNDO TV).
The Navy says the crash scene actually spans nearly two miles. Officials are keeping people away from the area because military officials now say rocket launchers were onboard and it's not known if they went off during the impact.
The Prowler, which dates back to the Vietnam War era, is now used to suppress enemy air defenses while supporting other strike aircraft and ground troops. It has also been used as an anti-submarine aircraft. It carries a crew of 3 or 4, depending on the mission.
This Prowler was a part of the Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-129 based out of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. It is not uncommon for military aircraft to practice in the skies over rural areas of Eastern Washington.