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Whidbey Island residents grieve after Navy jet crash

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. — A small town shaken after a EA-6BNavy Prowler jet crashed Monday morning in Eastern Washington, killing all 3 on board.

The Prowler took off from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Monday. The NAS Whidby Island is home to the US Navy’s tactical electronic warfare squadron. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Navy has not yet released the names of the victims in the crash.

But, when the news of the crash spread, there was panic in the community, knowing the town had lost a few of its own. The panic turned into grief. By Monday night, Catalina Drive was illuminated with dozens of candles. More than a 100 people gathered for a vigil to pray for the victims.

“My heart all but stopped when I heard the news,” said Tara Hizon. Hizon is an Oak Harbor City Council member who organized the vigil.

There are no obvious leftovers of the Prowler except for a big imprint and debris. A manager at a nearby airport, Stan Dammel, snapped a picture after flying over the crash site. Dammel said he heard about the crash over the scanner.

“There is charred ground and small debris all over the place,” said Dammel.

Officials say there were no parachutes found on the ground.

Seasha Hassett, a resident who said her friend worked at NAS Whidbey Island, prepared the parachutes before the crew took off Monday morning.

“It is hard we get to know each other,” said Hassett.

It’s that familiarity that is the hardest for this tight knit community.

“We want to honor them and any other military for their service and what they do,” said Tina Wieldraayer-Provoncha.

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9 comments

  • Victor Bozic

    To the people of Oak Harbor,
    Thank you! For the support and prayers that you are providing to the families of the aircrew that was killed in the mishap of the Prowler. My stepson is the squadron safety officer and a instructor pilot with VAQ-129. Unfortunately, he has the duty to go to the crash site and help in the investigation of the mishap. He has been stationed at Whidbey on and off for the past six years.

    Victor Bozic
    Gillette, Wyoming

  • William Sacherek

    Let us not take for granted the sacrifices that our uniformed services and their families make every day in the performance of their duty. This tragedy is a reminder to thank and comfort these families with our prayers and actions each time we encounter them. God has blessed this nation with these fine people and so let each of us do our best in our own endeavors to show our appreciation for them. May God provide comfort to the VAQ families and all those who mourn over this loss.

  • Myrta

    I often wonder why and then turn to God. My son in law flies the prowler and had to go and fly today…..
    Most difficult situation for the families who lost their loved ones today and for the FAQ families, especially with little children. My husband and I have not thanked them enough for their courage and endevaors, for what their families have to endure. Honestly, I had no idea what kind of a hardship a military family had to go through until my daughter got married to one of those very special people. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We pray that God will give you all comfort and strength through this very difficult time.

  • Pam Kero

    My heart goes out to the families & friends of those gone now.. My prayers are with you.. I've been gone from Whidbey Island a long time now, but I remember how close everyone gets.

  • Dennis Jones

    My heart goes out to the families of all three Officers that died in this terribl mishap, as well as to the members of VAQ-129 who have to deal with this also. My prayers are with you.

  • ross

    I was stationed at NAS Whidbey 91-94, aimd/sea-op-det, haven't been there since I got out and have a trip planned for 3/24/13, how unfortunate! We lost a couple back then and it hurts me now as well. You are in my prayers!!!!

  • ben

    i feel for all of whidbey nas. we just left there in feb. the wife was at vaq 129 for three yrs. and 3 yrs at vaq 135. our prayers to the aircrew community. from the kelchner family

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