ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Navy officials have identified the service member killed in Wednesday night’s E2-D Hawkeye crash north of Chincoteague Island in Accomack County.
According to the Navy, Lieutenant Hyrum Hanlon was killed when an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye crashed Wednesday night during a routine exercise.
“It takes a courageous and patriotic person to devote their life to the selflessness of serving in the armed forces,” said Cmdr. Martin Fentress Jr., Commanding Officer of VAW-120 “Hyrum embodied those characteristics and will be truly missed by his family and the Hawkeye community. We sincerely appreciate the public respecting the family’s privacy during this difficult time as they mourn his loss.”
Hanlon graduated from Arizona State University and joined the Navy in May 2017. He reported to the Norfolk-based VAW-120 in January 2021.
“The First Lady and I are heartbroken by the passing of Navy Lt. Hyrum Hanlon, who tragically lost his life when a Navy E-2D aircraft operating out of Naval Air Station Norfolk crashed in the vicinity of Chincoteague, Virginia. Our hearts go out to their families, the Naval crew members, as well as the members of Naval Air Force Atlantic,” said Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “This serves as a reminder that our great servicemen and women risk their lives every day to serve our country.”
Lt. Cmdr. Rob Myers, a public affairs officer with Naval Air Force Atlantic, said the plane was doing a routine exercise when it went down around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Three people were onboard the E2-D Hawkeye when it crashed. Two crewmembers have injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening. They were rescued by Maryland State Police and transported to Wallops Island for treatment.
The Worcester County Fire Department Dive Team found Hanlon deceased in the aircraft.
“This is a tremendous loss for both our squadron and for the family and friends of our fallen service member,” said Cmdr. Martin Fentress Jr., Commanding Officer of VAW-120. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and are committed to determining the cause of this incident.”
The plane is based out of Naval Station Norfolk and assigned to an East Coast Airborne Command and Control Squadron.
As of Monday, April 4, the plane remains partially submerged in the water as officials continue salvaging efforts.
Navy officials say that the health and safety of the local community is a top priority during the recovery effort.
As part of the salvage operation, the aircraft was safely de-fueled on Saturday.
Officials add that the aircraft’s fuel tanks remain intact and are no concern for public health. Overflight aircraft confirmed with 10 On Your Side that there has been no pollution or discharge of fuel in the area.
“We greatly appreciate the continued support of our interagency partners, and especially the local community, as we recover our aircraft following this tragic event,” said Mr. Alan Kersnick, the Navy on-scene coordinator.
The investigation is ongoing.