Plane Crashes During Search for Missing Aircraft
NAPLES, Italy (AP) _ A U.S. Marine Corps plane with two men aboard crashed into the Mediterranean southeast of Crete on Friday while searching for a Navy aircraft that disappeared earlier this week, a Navy spokesman reported.
Lt. Dave Morris said crew members of a Greek freighter saw the A-6 jet hit the water southeast of the island at about 11 a.m. and a search was being conducted. He said it carried a pilot and a flight officer.
Both the Marine aircraft and the S-3A Viking submarine hunter missing since Tuesday in the eastern Mediterranean were based on the 6th Fleet aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy.
The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said crewmen of the Honduran-flag freighter El Sol, owned by a Greek company, saw the A-6 crash but the ship was not able to pick up the pilot and flight officer.
Morris said weather conditions in the area were normal at the time.
In Washington, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Craig Fisher identified the two men aboard the A-6 as 1st Lt. Russell L. Schindelheim, 31, of Newbern, N.C., the pilot; and Capt. Timothy L. Morrison, 30, of Havelock, N.C, the bombadier- navigator.
The A-6 was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 533, Morris said.
He said the search for the Navy aircraft, which carried a crew of four, was called off at sunset Friday.
″They did a thorough search of the eastern end of the Mediterranean with the help of five countries,″ he said.
Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel and Turkey joined the sea and air search for the submarine hunter.