Human error contributed to March incident that injured 8 Sailors on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 17:47:53-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Navy says it was human error that contributed to a March mishap that injured eight Sailors on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Norfolk-based aircraft carrier was operating off the coast of Virginia on March 18th conducting flight operations when an E-2C Hawkeye aircraft assigned to VAW-123 went in for a landing.

According to the Navy's investigation into the incident, released to News 3 under a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Hawkeye successfully engaged the number four wire on the Eisenhower, but the number four arresting gear engine failed to successfully slow down the aircraft as it continued in the landing area.

That's when the cross deck pendant parted and the Hawkeye continued over the end of the carrier. Video released by the Navy of the incident shows the Hawkeye momentarily disappearing from view before ascending and safely returning to Chambers Field at Naval Station Norfolk.

On the Eisenhower, eight Sailors were injured and two aircraft damaged by the recoil from the number four arresting wire.

The Navy's investigation found the root cause of the mishap to be three maintenance personnel on the Eisenhower who were troubleshooting a system-reported fault code on a previous landing.

The report says the Sailors "missed at least one and possibly two critical steps" while troubleshooting.

Even so, the Navy found "the circumstances that resulted in this mishap were unfortunate, but not the result of willful dereliction of duty or culpable negligence. Based upon their training, the Sailors reasonably believed they had properly and conscientiously completed the complicated troubleshooting procedure."

Several of the injured Sailors were flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment of injuries that included sprains, fractures of the face, skull, ankle, legs, wrists and arms as well as a possible traumatic brain injury.

The report included recommendations for retraining and additional controls for troubleshooting issues in order to prevent a mishap like this from happening again.