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Heavy rain slows Navy jet crash investigation but doesn't dampen spirits

Heavy rain slows Navy jet crash investigation but doesn't dampen spirits
Posted at 9:47 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 23:17:46-04

RICARDO, Texas — They're working in mud so think that vehicles with wheels cannot be used, because they would get stuck.

But investigators looking into Monday's Navy training jet crash have brought in vehicles with tracks to get around, and they are not letting Wednesday's torrential downpour dampen their spirits.

"Yeah, the rain did slow us down a bit," Sarah Murtagh from Navy Region Southeast said. "But it certainly hasn’t discouraged us."

"With those tracked vehicles now in place, investigators can now remove the wreckage of the downed jet and transport it to Naval Air Station Kingsville.

There, they will get a closer look as they try to figure out why two T-45 Coshawks bumped into each other mid-air while they were practicing maneuvers causing one of them to crash.

The pilots ejected and parachuted to safety, and that is another reason spirits remain high at the crash site.

"If we’re going to respond to a mishap, this is the type of mishap we want to respond to, where there are no casualties," Murtagh said.

Her coworker gave, for the first time, a detailed description of the crash site, and it sounds like it was un-survivable if the pilots had not gotten out.

"The aircraft did hit at a pretty high rate of speed which resulted in a lot of debris scattered over a relatively large area," John Baxter also of Navy Region Southeast said.

Investigators are also protecting themselves from swarms of mosquitoes that are breeding in all of the standing water left over from the storms.

They have also spotted rattlesnakes around the King Ranch near Ricardo where the jet went down.

Still, their efforts continue as they try to get answers into the cause of the crash of a Navy jet for a community that cares.

“The Navy is a big part of the community here," Murtagh said.

"The landowners have been very cooperative. The sheriff’s department has been very supportive providing us with site security. And we just want to thank the community for all of their support.”