Key section of crashed fighter jet recovered off Kewalo Basin
  • Sunday, June 16, 2019
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Key section of crashed fighter jet recovered off Kewalo Basin

  • COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD

    The tail section of a crashed Hawker Hunter fighter jet that sank off Kewalo Basin was recovered on Monday.

The tail section of a crashed Hawker Hunter fighter jet — with its engine and “black box” — was recovered in about 265 feet of water Monday off Kewalo Basin, the Coast Guard said.

Local salvage company Parker Marine, with the aid of a remotely-operated vehicle, was able to lasso the section of jet and use a crane to bring it to the surface.

The camouflage-painted former military fighter was ditched at sea in dramatic fashion on Dec. 12 about 2 miles from Kewalo Basin with the pilot ejecting seconds before the plane hit the water in the vicinity of two boatloads of parasailers.

Chief Sara Muir, deputy public affairs officer for the Coast Guard’s District 14, said the first third of the single-seat jet including a portion of the cockpit “was pretty much destroyed on impact.”

The second third, with the rest of the cockpit and wings, was loosely attached.

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“When they lassoed that tail section and began to bring it up, that piece came away,” Muir said.

But the tail section, with the engine and c0mputerized flight information, is what the National Transportation Safety Board needs as it investigates a loss of power after the jet took off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, she said.

The tail section was being trucked to the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base for examination when the partial government shutdown ends.

The contracted vintage jet, operated by the Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., was participating as adversary or “red air” during the Hawaii Air National Guard’s Sentry Aloha exercise when pilot Matt Pothier experienced trouble and said he looked for a clear location at sea to ditch the aircraft.

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