Officials investigate three military aircraft crashes in two days that kill five

WASHINGTON. Military safety officials are investigating three crashes in just two days involving military aircraft – an F-16 Fighting Falcon, CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, and AV-8B Harrier – with five fatalities, including one U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and four Marines. Industry pundits, including veterans, speculate that taxed military pilots and maintenance technicians, and aging, poorly maintained aircraft are likely to blame.

Apr 5th, 2018
Officials investigate three military aircraft crashes in two days that kill five
Officials investigate three military aircraft crashes in two days that kill five

WASHINGTON. Military safety officials are investigating three crashes in just two days involving military aircraft – an F-16 Fighting Falcon, CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, and AV-8B Harrier – with five fatalities, including one U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and four Marines.

Official statements from military officials follow:

Thunderbirds Aircraft Mishap
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.
— A U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range [4 April 2018] at approximately 10:30 a.m. during a routine aerial demonstration training flight. The identity of the pilot is being withheld for 24 hours pending next-of-kin notification. An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the mishap.

The team’s participation at the March Air Reserve Base “The March Field Air & Space Expo” has been cancelled. It is unknown how this accident will impact the remainder of the 2018 Thunderbirds Season.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) CH-53E Super Stallion crash
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. –
Four Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing were killed as a result of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash in the vicinity of El Centro, California, at approximately 2:35 p.m. (PDT), 3 April 2018. The aircraft departed the Strategic Expeditionary Landing Field at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, to conduct squadron training consisting of aircraft landings in unimproved zones.

The mishap occurred approximately 15 miles west of El Centro. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The names of the deceased will be withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification.

All releasable information is contained within this release and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

U.S. Marine Aircraft Crashes in Djibouti
By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
MANAMA, Bahrain – An AV-8B Harrier pilot is receiving medical care after ejecting during takeoff from from Djibouti Ambouli International Airport, Djibouti, 3 April 2018, just after 4:00 p.m. local time.

Assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 and embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, the aircraft crashed after the pilot ejected.

Doctors said the pilot was in stable condition while being evaluated at Camp Lemonnier's expeditionary medical facility.

There are no reports of injuries to personnel on the ground nor damage to infrastructure at the airport. The airport is open.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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