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Navy identifies sailor killed in radar plane crash off Virginia coast


The Navy has identified the sailor who was killed on Wednesday when an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye radar plane crashed off the Virginia coast as Lt. Hyrum Hanlon.

Hanlon was assigned to Airborne Command and Control Squadron 120 at the time of his death, Navy officials said. He was commissioned after graduating from Arizona State University in 2017 and he joined the squadron in January 2021.

“It takes a courageous and patriotic person to devote their life to the selflessness of serving in the armed forces,” Cmdr. Martin Fentress Jr., the squadron’s commanding officer, said in a statement. “Hyrum embodied those characteristics and will be truly missed by his family and the Hawkeye community. We sincerely appreciate the public respecting the family’s privacy during this difficult time as they mourn his loss.”

Two other crew members were rescued by Maryland State Police and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Navy.

The plane went down in the water near Wallops Island and Chincoteague, Virginia. The Navy is working with state and local officials to plan to salvage the aircraft. Investigators are looking into the cause of the crash.

The aircraft, assigned to an East Coast Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW), crashed around 7:30 p.m. The Worcester County Fire Department Dive Team supported the search and recovery of the deceased, who was found in the aircraft. 

Navy identifies sailor killed in radar plane crash off Virginia coast
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft conduct a test flight near St. Augustine, Florida in 2009. (U.S. Navy)

The crash marks the seventh Class A Aviation Mishap for the Navy in the fiscal year, along with five for the Marine Corps in that same timeframe. 

Just two weeks before the crash, four Marines assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing were killed when their MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed in Norway during a training exercise. 

The E-2 Hawkeye is the Navy’s all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning, command and control aircraft,  notable for its distinctive 24-foot diameter radar rotodome attached to the upper fuselage. 

In August 2020, an E-2C Hawkeye assigned to Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 120 Fleet Replacement Squadron at Naval Station Norfolk crashed, also in the vicinity of Wallops Island. Two crewmembers and two passengers bailed out safely. 

Update: This story was updated on April 1 after the Navy identified Lt. Hyrum Hanlon.

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