Witnesses of fatal Oceana-based Navy jet mishap describe crash

Posted at 2:40 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 05:41:48-04

KEY WEST, Fla. - Those who live near Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West, are sharing pictures and videos of the damage to a F/A-18 Super Hornet. The jet went down in Key West, Florida Wednesday afternoon.

Barbie Wilson was running an errand when she saw the jet crash.

"All of a sudden it was looking like it was going to land," she said. "The wings went perpendicular to the ground like it was going to bank. Then I saw fire and it dropped right out of the sky."

Wilson says she called 9-1-1 and was the first one to report the crash.

"The operator was like no we don’t have any reports of that. I said, I know, I'm calling to tell you I just saw that," she said.

Barbie's husband, Kevin, a local Charter Boat Captain said he didn't see the crash, but heard a loud noise round the time of the mishap.

"I was working in the shop and I heard a 'woop', I went to grab the phone and said I think there was a plane crash," Kevin explained.

Other's in the area heard the loud noise and sprang into action. Clay Lockamy told News 3 he got into his boat after hearing the noise and raced towards the scene. Within minutes he found the jet on its back in shallow water.

According to the Navy, the mishap occurred during a training flight. The aircraft went down one mile off the runway on final approach Boca Chica Field, Naval Air Station, Key West.

Both the pilot and weapons system officer in the jet were recovered from the water and taken to the Lower Keys Medical Center. They were later declared dead.

The Navy says the Sailors were part of Strike Fighter Squadron 213, the “Blacklions,” based out of Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. While the two sailors who died were not local to Key West, the community there says they feel their loss and are praying for their families and friends.

"We are constantly watching them do what they do," said Kevin. "It’s sad, it’s so very sad."


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