Evidence found at the remote, rugged Alaska site where an F-22 Raptor crashed indicates the pilot was unable to eject from the aircraft and could not have survived.
An Air Force official says part of the fighter jet’s ejection seat was found at the site, which means Capt. Jeffrey Haney of Clarklake, Michigan, near Jackson, did not eject before Tuesday’s crash.
“If the pilot was able to eject, the seat would go with him,” Col. Jack McMullen said. Also, an emergency locator transmitter would have been activated if the pilot had ejected and it was not. Also found were pieces of the flight suit Haney had been wearing.
No body or remains have been found at the site, which McMullen described as a wet area. He said the impact of the crash caused a large crater that swallowed up much of the jet. Recovery efforts are expected to last several weeks, given the challenges of removing the wreckage. McMullen said the effort involves about 130 personnel in temperatures that plunge to 20 below at night.
Haney’s single-seat jet crashed during a training run about 100 miles north of Anchorage near Denali National Park. He was assigned to the 525th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Wing, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
“Obviously, this is a huge loss for the 3rd Wing and for the Air Force, but it’s even a greater loss and it’s a very emotional time for the entire Haney family,” said McMullen, the 3rd Wing commander.
An investigation team will look at the cause of the unknown crash, which occurred in clear conditions.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)