U.S. Navy IDs 2 pilots killed in plane crash in Tennessee

Lt. Patrick L. Ruth, 31, of Metairie, Louisiana, and Lt. j.g. Wallace E. Burch, 25, of Horn Lake, Mississippi, died when their aircraft went down in the Cherokee National Forest in eastern Tennessee.

TELLICO PLAINS - UPDATE Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017: The U.S. Navy has identified the two pilots who died in a plane crash in Cherokee National Forest on Sunday as 31-year-old Lt. Patrick L. Ruth, of Metairie, Louisiana, and 25-year-old Lt. j.g. Wallace E. Burch, of Horn Lake, Mississippi.

Both pilots were assigned to the "Eagles" of Training Squadron (VT) 7 based at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, the Navy said. 

Ruth had been a member of the squadron since 2015, and had served in the Navy for nine years. Burch joined VT-7 in 2016, and had served in the Navy for three years. 

The Navy previously said the T-45C Goshawk was carrying an instructor and a pilot when it crashed near Tellico Plains.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.


UPDATE Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 at noon: The U.S. Navy has confirmed that the two pilots aboard a military aircraft that crashed in the Cherokee National Forest did not survive the crash.

Monroe County EMA Director David Chambers expects a military investigation into how the crash happened.

Earlier, officials said that an instructor and trainer were on board the T-45C Goshawk.

 

 

A community near the crash is sending prayers to the families of the pilots who were lost.

"It's sad, it's heartbreaking," said resident Marcie Moats.

Moats works at the Green Cove Store and Motel, just a few miles from the crash.

"And when you hear like a siren, and a few minutes later another one and few minutes later another one, then that's out of the ordinary."

It wasn't ordinary for resident Charles Murphy either--he saw the plane before it crashed.

"It was extremely low," said Murphy. "Otherwise nothing seemed wrong with it."
 
He says planes fly over all the time.
 
"We were unable to hear a boom or anything," said Murphy. "And until the emergency vehicles started appearing everywhere, did not know that anything had happened."

But the response of the community to help in whatever way they could encouraged Murphy.

"It's just what it's about," said Murphy. "You know, people taking care of people. But, you know, that's a rough day."

UPDATE Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.: Crews have arrived at the Cherokee National Forest to begin searching the site of a U.S. Navy jet crash.

The U.S. Navy said the T-45C Goshawk jet was flying from Meridian, Miss. It was carrying an instructor and a student at the time of the crash. 

On Sunday, UT Lifestar and Knox County Sheriff's Office helicopters were sent to that area to look for parachutes from above, but Monroe County EMA says none were found.

A helicopter returned Monday morning to begin searching.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Facebook page shared a post stating the crash happened near the fish hatchery on River Road in Tellico Plains.


UPDATE Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 at 9:40 p.m.The U.S. Navy on Twitter said its aircraft crashed in the Cherokee National Forest near Tellico Plains Sunday afternoon.

A release from the U.S. Navy said two pilots were aboard the aircraft, an instructor and a student. Their status is unknown at this time.

The Chief of Naval Air Training is investigating the site of the crash as well as Monroe County authorities, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Forestry Division.

David Chambers with Monroe County EMA said the operations in that area have been suspended, and security will be maintained overnight.

The aircraft was a T-45C Goshawk jet flying from Meridian, Miss. and was training near the area, according to the U.S. Navy's Twitter account.

 

The aircraft can carry a crew of two people and can fly at speeds of 645 miles per hour.

UT Lifestar and Knox County Sheriff's Office helicopters were sent to that area to look for parachutes from above, but Monroe County EMA says none were found.

UPDATE, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 at 7:40 p.m.Monroe County Sheriff's Office is at the scene of this crash. The FAA could not offer details about the crash and referred 10News to the the U.S. military for more information.

According to the Adjutant General Terry M. Haston with the Tennessee National Guard, "All Tennessee National (Guard) Aircraft are accounted for."

Previous storyMonroe County Sheriff's Office says county units are on the way to the scene of a plane crash in the Cherokee National Forest.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Facebook page shared a post stating the crash happened near the fish hatchery on River Road in Tellico Plains.

Dispatch says crews are on their way to the scene now.

It's unknown at this time what kind of plane and whether or not there are injuries.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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