Navy jet crashes in Tennessee forest, both pilots dead

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The U.S. Navy put out a news release at noon on Monday, confirming that two soldiers are dead after the T-45 Goshawk jet they were piloting crashed Sunday in the Cherokee National Forest.

According to the release:

At approximately 9:40 a.m. Oct. 2, Training Air Wing ONE, based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, Miss., confirmed the T-45 belonging to Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) that went missing yesterday afternoon has crashed in East Tennessee.

Two pilots were aboard the aircraft, an instructor and a student. The pilots did not survive the incident. Names of the pilots are being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin notification. An investigation will commence to determine the cause of the mishap.

Training Air Wing ONE is one of five training wings that belong to CNATRA.

The crash site was close to a fish hatchery, according to a post on the Facebook page of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators told Local 8 News that they are keeping civilians three miles away from the crash site because the jet had explosives in it.

Authorities stopped recovery efforts Sunday night because of the explosives present at the crash site.

The Clarion-Ledger reported on Tuesday that within the last 13 months, there have been at least two incidents involving T-45C Goshawks at the Meridian Naval Air Station.

On Sep. 7, 2016, a T-45C Goshawk assigned to Training Air Wing One crashed in a heavily wooded area while conducting a training flight. The student and instructor pilot were able to eject safely near the airfield at NAS Meridian.

Then, on Jan. 17, Naval Air Station Meridian said two pilots — also an instructor and student — were involved when a T-45C Goshawk crashed on a training flight. Again, they were both able to safely eject from the aircraft.

At this point, the causes for both crashes, as well as Sunday afternoon’s crash in Tennessee, are unknown, according to the report.

In April, the Navy grounded some of its T-45 training jets after instructor pilots expressed concerns about the aircraft’s oxygen systems. This affected training at the Meridian base, reported USA TODAY Network’s Julie Garcia.

According to WTOK, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker met with Navy personnel in Washington about the T-45C issues in April, saying that pilots had raised very serious safety concerns and that they needed to be heard.

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