Four Navy aircrew parachute to safety moments before E-2C Hawkeye plane crashes in Virginia

An $80 million military plane has crashed in Virginia, with four people parachuting to safety shortly before it hit the ground.

The crash happened near Nelsonia, along Mason Road, on Monday afternoon. 

A Navy spokesman confirmed to that all four people on board – two pilots, two crew members – bailed out of the EC-2 Hawkeye before it crashed. 

An E-2C Hawkeye, similar to the one pictured, crashed on Monday in Virginia

An E-2C Hawkeye, similar to the one pictured, crashed on Monday in Virginia

Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs, told that the plane crashed near Wallops Island.

She said the plane was assigned to Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 120 Fleet Replacement Squadron on board Naval Station Norfolk. 

‘Initial reports indicate no structures or personnel on the ground were damaged or injured in the mishap,’ she said.

‘The cause of the mishap is under investigation.’ 

Aurora Intel, a monitoring service, said that a C-30J (OTIS22) and a T-38 (MIG2) were flying over the crash site. 

The U.S. Naval Academy describes the Hawkeye as ‘the Navy’s all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning, command and control aircraft.’ 

The plane is a twin engine, five crewmember, high-wing turboprop aircraft.

Hawkeyes have a distinctive 24-foot diameter radar rotodome – a rotating radar – attached to the upper fuselage. 

The Navy describes the Hawkeye as ‘the eyes of the fleet’, and they have been used since the Vietnam War. 

The current version of the Hawkeye, the E-2C, became operational in 1973, and surpassed one million flight hours in August 2004, the Navy said

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