Navy identifies four killed in Georgia plane crash

Search and rescue teams wait at a command post in the parking lot of the Shiloh Baptist Church in LaFayette, Ga., Wednesday before continuing the search for a missing Naval aircraft and the four occupants that were on board. The search for a missing The Navy T-39 Sabreliner covered a swath of Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama on Wednesday, a day after the aircraft failed to make its scheduled landing at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida following a low-level bomb training mission.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 12:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 12:52 p.m.

Navy investigators arrived in rural northwest Georgia Thursday to begin piecing together details in the deadly crash of a Navy jet with four people aboard.

Early Thursday, search crews found the plane, which went missing Tuesday while on a low-level, bomb-targeting, training mission.

The Navy identified those killed as Navy Lt. Jason S. Manse, 30, of of Canton, Ohio; Navy Ensign Elizabeth Bonn, 23, of Wilkes-Barre, Penn.; Air Force Lt. Jason W. Davis, 28, of Vista, Calif.; and retired Navy Cmdr. Dave Roark, 68, a Pensacola resident and the contract pilot of the T-39 Sabreliner.

"Navy investigators are on the scene. The investigation, recovery and other aspects related to that are underway. That began from the moment they arrived," said Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl, a spokesman for Naval Air Station Pensacola, where the plane was based.

Aandahl said a determination of an official cause of the crash will likely take months.

The plane went missing after it left Chattanooga, Tenn., and failed to return to its home base in Pensacola. Its emergency locator did not function and search crews scoured a wide swath of rugged terrain before a Georgia State Patrol Helicopter located the crash site early Thursday in Walker County.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said the jet was in a remote, wooded area. It appeared to have sustained some fire damage, he said.

Crews were responding to reported sightings of a plane in distress in an area from Walker County, just south of Chattanooga to Mineral Bluff, Ga., just south of the western tip of North Carolina.

Capt. Lee Little, commander of Training Wing 6, which includes the downed aircraft, said the plane would have been flying at between 500 and 1,000 feet.

Sabreliners are used for training navigators and other non-pilot air crew officers for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and foreign military services.

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