Two service members killed in crash of Navy T-6B trainer aircraft

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Two U.S. service members died Friday after a Navy T-6B Texan II turboprop trainer aircraft crashed in Alabama.

The crash occurred at about 5 p.m. local time in Foley, Alabama, a town near the Gulf Coast, according to a Naval Air Forces statement.

T-6B Crash in Foley, AL: A U.S. Navy T-6B Texan II aircraft crashed in Foley, Alabama, at approximately 5 p.m. CST…

Posted by U.S. Naval Air Forces on Friday, October 23, 2020

Officials declined to say which branches the occupants hailed from, but the aircraft is used to train service members in other branches.

The identities of the deceased are being withheld for 24 hours, pending next-of-kin notification.

This photo provided by Greg Crippen shows the scene where a U.S. Navy training plane out of NAS Whiting Field crashed in an Alabama residential neighborhood near the Gulf Coast Friday near Foley, Ala. (Greg Crippen via AP)

Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Zachary Harrell said the flight took off from Florida’s Naval Air Station Whiting Field, which lies about a 90-minute drive northeast of the crash area.

NBC 15 sources have confirmed the plane that crashed in Baldwin County was a Navy training aircraft being flown out of Naval Air Station Whiting Field. A person flying over the scene captured these pictures:https://t.co/O0Mrl0WXZE pic.twitter.com/b8zvV1QuJS

— NBC 15 News (@mynbc15) October 23, 2020

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While officials have not confirmed the unit to which the plane belonged, Training Air Wing 5 is based at Whiting Field.

The wing trains aviators from the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and allied nations, according to the command page.

The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that the crash occurred in nearby Magnolia Springs, just to the west of Foley.

Both the sheriff’s office and Navy officials reported no civilian casualties on the ground, although the sheriff’s office tweeted that a house was on fire at the scene.

Update plane crash: The plane involved in the crash is going to be a US Naval aircraft. No civilians were injured on the ground. DOD and Navy personnel will be handling the investigation and will provide further updates.

— BC Sheriff’s Office (@1BC_SO) October 23, 2020

Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby said responders encountered a “large volume of fire” with a home and several cars engulfed in flames. Firefighters were able to make “a quick stop on the fire,” the chief told local news outlets.

In a Facebook post Friday night, the Chief of Naval Air Training expressed condolences:

In a particularly cruel twist, a Friday morning Facebook post from CNATRA, which immediately preceded the post announcing the crash, celebrated the achievement of an historic achievement in naval aviation safety.

The Navy and Marine Corps ended fiscal 2020 without any aviation-related fatalities, a milestone dating back at least to when the sea service started keeping such records in 1922, the Naval Safety Center announced Monday.

“After 98 years of recorded aviation history, this unprecedented milestone serves as testimony to the Naval Aviation…

Posted by Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) on Friday, October 23, 2020

On late Tuesday morning, a Navy F/A-18E out of Naval Air Station Lemoore crashed in Central California after the Super Hornet experienced a mishap during a routine training flight just south of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

The pilot ejected and survived the crash.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

About

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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