A Navy aircraft from Whidbey Island crashed southwest of Spokane in Lincoln County this morning. The Lincoln County Sherriff's Office reported that three people died in the crash; the U.S. Navy confirmed the deaths this afternoon.
Earlier on Twitter, the U.S. Navy confirmed an aircraft operating out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island crashed about 50 miles southwest of Spokane. The aircraft was identified as an EA-6B, known as a Prowler.
The Navy press release says:
“Naval Air Station Whidbey Island received a report of an aircraft down in eastern Washington at approximately 8:45 a.m. on Monday, March 11, 2013.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.”
The Navy says it was a routine training flight. The aircraft has room for four people, but it’s been reported that only three were on board. The same type of aircraft crashed near Pendleton, Ore., in 2006, but all four crew members were able to eject safely.
Here's an updated press release from the Navy:
"All three crew members aboard a Navy EA-6B Prowler jet assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., were killed when the aircraft crashed this morning in an unpopulated area approximately 50 miles west of Spokane, Wash.
The names of those killed in the crash will not be released until 24 hours after family members have been informed.
The aircraft was conducting a training flight prior to the crash. A safety investigation is underway to determine the cause."
We’ll continue to update this post as more information becomes available.