US Navy aircraft crashes after Afghanistan mission

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

According to the US Navy, an aircraft has crashed in the Arabian Sea while returning from a mission in Afghanistan.

The US Navy Fifth Fleet said in a statement that the aircraft, an E-2C Hawkeye surveillance plane, had crashed into the ocean after experiencing "mechanical malfunctions," in what the statement termed a "mishap." The incident reportedly occurred at around 1400 local time (1000 UTC). The aircraft and crew had been stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and were "returning from conducting operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom."

The aircraft was carrying four crew at the time of the incident, of which three have been rescued. A search for the remaining crew member is currently under way. Pending notification of next-of-kin, the military has not released the identities of the personnel involved. An investigation has also been opened into the incident.

The type of aircraft involved. E-2C Hawkeye, was designed to provide an effective airborne early-warning system, as well as conducting surveillance missions, co-ordinating combat operations and running search and rescue missions. The plane that crashed was used for missions around the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, including command and control operations, as well as longer-range surveillance missions, such as the one it was returning from when it crashed.