The US Navy has called off its search for three missing sailors after a C-2 Greyhound aircraft crashed on approach to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier at sea near Okinawa — but the plane’s pilot has emerged a hero for saving 8 lives.
The Greyhound, a twin-engine plane originally entered into service in the 1960s, reportedly crashed due to an engine failure.
But somehow, the pilot managed a landing on the open seas that allowed 8 of 11 passengers to escape with their lives.
As Lawrence Brennan, a former US Navy Captain, told Business Insider, “Greyhounds are not equipped with ejection seats or parachutes.” The aircrew’s only choice was to chance a landing at sea.
“This must have been particularly challenging after one engine failed reportedly on approach to the carrier,” said Brennan.
“The Greyhound was landed in the open ocean so that it remained afloat for a sufficient time to allow the majority of the people on board to escape,” said Brennan. “The sacrifice, skill, and professionalism that he and his aircrew demonstrated should be considered for recognition by the award of a Distinguished Flying Cross.”
Although the Greyhounds have all served for decades, the Navy regularly maintains them. Brennan points out that the last Greyhound casualty came about in 1973, but that the swift operational tempo of the US Navy in the pacific may have contributed to the crash.
Such was found to be the case when the collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain, which the Navy concluded was preventable.