Search called off for missing F-14 pilot
Crewman says both chutes opened
October 3, 1997
Web posted at: 5:53 p.m. EDT (2153 GMT)
From Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The search has been called off for an F-14 pilot whose plane crashed Thursday off the coast of North Carolina, Pentagon sources say.
Sources say debris recovered by search teams indicates the pilot did not survive, even though he ejected and his parachute opened.
The other crew member, the radar intercept officer, who sits behind the pilot in the two-seat fighter jet, was pulled from the Atlantic shortly after the crash. He was treated and released.
Neither he nor the pilot was identified.
A Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, a C-130 aircraft and
three Navy ships participated in the search for the jet, which was assigned to Fighter Squadron 101 at Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The jet went down just after 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) about 65 miles east of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, during a routine training mission.
Survivor says both chutes opened
Officials say both crewmen ejected at the same time, and that the pilot's parachute opened properly.
Navy Cmdr. Joe Gradisher said that the radar officer "told us that he saw both chutes, that his chute opened up -- as well as his partner's -- and that was the last he saw. Both of them landed in the water."
Flight crews carry emergency kits that include a two-way radio, a radio beacon, a strobe light, a raft and other survival gear.
The $30 million aircraft was the seventh U.S. military plane
lost or damaged in a spate of aviation accidents over the
past few weeks.