Fairchild AFB Helping Navy At Plane Crash Site In Lincoln County - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fairchild AFB Helping Navy At Plane Crash Site In Lincoln County

Posted: Updated:

HARRINGTON, Wash – It's been a tough few days for the entire military community, after a Navy EA-6B Prowler crashed into a wheat field outside of Harrington Monday morning, killing all three people aboard.

"The fella driving tractor pointed up and said, ‘What's that?'" recalled Mike Johnson, who was feeding cows in Davenport, some 23 miles away, when the plane went down.  "There was a big ol' mushroom cloud coming up."

In the day since the crash, a mini city of sorts has been set up at the site.  Almost 100 people, mostly from Fairchild Air Force Base in Airway Heights, have made the trip to Lincoln County to help secure the site and aid in the ground search.  Rows of trucks and tents are now visible on the horizon, as some military personnel are staying on site 24 hours a day.

"Essentially what we do is walk a grid pattern around the area, walking shoulder by shoulder," explained Patrick Obruba, the Civil Engineering Squadron Commander at Fairchild.

The first priority is to recover the remains of those aboard, then searchers will retrace their steps to map the debris field with GPS – an area that spreads out for half a mile.

"We understand there was an explosion upon impact, and that's based on reports," Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Majers said Monday.

In the hours after the crash, Navy investigators from Whidbey Island, where the training flight originated from, flew in on two helicopters to help.

Military personnel will be on site for most of the week clearing the wreckage left behind.  A representative from Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware was expected Tuesday afternoon to help facilitate the dignified transfer of those lost.

"What we're doing is making sure we're honoring fallen service members for their service to the country and we're doing that in a very dignified and methodical fashion," Obruba added.

There's still no word on what may have caused the crash.  Part of the investigation will involve speaking with the crew members aboard the second ‘wingman' plane that could only circle when they saw their own friends go down.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:42:05 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Boil-water advisories issued in several eastern Washington areas after storms

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:45 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:45:06 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. >>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Health believes some local water systems are at risk after severe storms moved through the area on Wednesday and they have issued some boil-water advisories. In Spokane and Pend Oreille counties, several water systems are under boil-water advisories:·>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:42:05 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 50 children from Mexican border taken to Oregon; 211 in Washington

    50 children from Mexican border taken to Oregon; 211 in Washington

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:34:20 GMT
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Federal officials say 50 immigrant children are being relocated from the Mexican border to Oregon, and Gov. John Kitzhaber says they are welcome. Kitzhaber says the state will continue to welcome children fleeing hardship and violence while waiting for Congress to change immigration policies.>>
    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Federal officials say 50 immigrant children are being relocated from the Mexican border to Oregon, and Gov. John Kitzhaber says they are welcome. Kitzhaber says the state will continue to welcome children fleeing hardship and violence while waiting for Congress to change immigration policies.
    >>
  • KHQ Special: 'Behind the Fire Lines' airing Sunday at 6pm

    KHQ Special: 'Behind the Fire Lines' airing Sunday at 6pm

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:25 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:25:03 GMT
    KHQ.COM - For over a week, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from people who have lost everything, to those who refuse to let the firestorm break their spirits. From communities rallying together, to the heroes on the front lines. Join us for an hour long special, "Beyond the Fire Lines," airing this Sunday at 6pm on KHQ.>>
    KHQ.COM - For over a week, we've heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from people who have lost everything, to those who refuse to let the firestorm break their spirits. From communities rallying together, to the heroes on the front lines. Join us for an hour long special, "Beyond the Fire Lines," airing this Sunday at 6pm on KHQ.
    >>