US Navy Plane Crashes Off Virginia Coast

Norfolk, Va (AP) -- A Navy twin-engine turbo prop plane crashed off Virginia's coast, and the Navy and Coast Guard were searching Thursday for the three aviators who were aboard, authorities said.

The E-2C Hawkeye aircraft crashed at about 11 p.m. last night following its launch from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, the Navy said in a statement. The ship had been conducting routine training.

The Truman, the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Coast Guard were searching for the missing aviators by air and sea.

The Hawkeye is from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120, based at Norfolk Naval Station. The squadron trains pilots and naval flight officers before they are assigned to operational fleet squadrons.

Mike Maus, a Navy spokesman, said he did not have further information about the crash or the crew.

The Navy was investigating the cause of the crash.

The E-2C Hawkeye normally carries a crew of five, including two pilots and three naval flight officers.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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