Callers describe an aircraft accident, a Navy jet orbiting overhead and seeing a black plume of smoke and fire on the ground in 9-1-1 calls in the moments after a Whidbey Island-based EA-6B Prowler crashed in Lincoln County Monday.
Three Naval aviators assigned to VAQ-129 "Vikings" based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station were killed in that crash Monday morning.
In all there were six calls placed to 9-1-1, three from one man who saw the plane go down and then tried to get to the location to help firefighters find the crash site. Each caller sounded surprisingly calm as they described to dispatchers the deadly crash.
911: 911, what's the location of your emergency
Caller: I'm located [at] Coffeepot and Lance Road
Caller: And I just witnessed a Navy jet crash west of me.
911: A Navy jet crash?
Caller: yeah one of the fighter jets that maybe comes from Whidbey Island that do their testing in this area
Seconds later more calls into 9-1-1; one woman reported seeing the Prowler fly by and then says she heard an explosion. The operator asked her if it was a sonic boom and she said no because of the thick black smoke in the sky.
911: Do you see the plane?
Caller: Yeah, I can see the smoke and fire, looks like its spread all over the place. And we have an A6 Grumman jet circling our place like crazy
911: Yep, that's the wingman. We've got help en-route
Caller: Okay, wasn't sure if it was a cropduster or what was down
On Thursday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office escorted the remains of the three aviators killed in the crash. Lt. Cmdr. Alan Patterson, 36, Lt. Jg. Valerie Delaney, 26, and 24-year-old Lt. Jg. William McIlvane died when their Prowler crashed into a field.
People turned out on the main streets of Harrington, Davenport and Reardan to watch the procession and pay their respects to the fallen aviators.