Navy Identifies 3 killed in Whidbey Island Navy jet crash


HARRINGTON, Wash. - The US Navy released the names of the three crew members killed when an EA-6B Prowler crashed in Eastern Washington.

They are:

 Lieutenant Junior Grade Valerie Cappelaere Delaney, 26, from Ellicott City, Maryland

Lieutenant Junior Grade William Brown McIlvaine III, 24, from El Paso, Texas

Lieutenant Commander Alan A. Patterson, 34, from Tullahoma, Tennessee

The jet, from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, crashed about 50 miles west of Spokane, killing the three service members on board.

The plane crashed Monday in an unpopulated area between Harrington and Odessa.

 Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said a call about the crash of the EA-6B Prowler came in at 8:51 a.m. on Monday.

Navy officials said the jet assigned to the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ-129) was conducting a routine training flight prior to the crash.

Whidbey NAS officials will be the lead investigators on the crash.

Witnesses reported hearing the sound of a plane followed by a loud "boom" seconds later, and saw a large cloud of smoke billowing from the ground.

A private pilot who heard about the jet going down took pictures of the crash scene.

"I jumped in my own plane to see what was going on; to see if I could see anything,” said Stan Dammel. "There's no sign of an airplane left, there's just a big hole in the ground and a lot of black burn.”

A KIRO 7 News crew at the scene said there is a significant crater from the impact of the crash and a debris field.

A parachute is attached to some of the wreckage, most of which is in small pieces no larger than 4x4 feet.

What appears to be a landing gear strut and wheel is in a field some distance from the rest of the wreckage.  

The Navy says a safety investigation is underway to find the cause of the crash.