Navy Airman Stable After Crash

A U.S. crewman injured during a fatal crash between two navy jets over the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey was in stable condition Friday following a three-hour operation, hospital officials said.

The airman, identified by University Hospital in Antalya as William Kane, underwent surgery for a broken leg and was expected to be discharged within three days, said Dr. Ahmet Turan Aydin, who conducted the operation.

After Thursday's collision, one of the two F-14 Tomcats made it safely back to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. But the other crashed while flying to Antalya for an emergency landing, said Lt. Greg Geisen, a spokesman for the Navy's public affairs office in Gaeta, Italy.

The two crew members in the plane that crashed ejected, Geisen said. When a rescue helicopter located the pair, one aviator was unconscious and the other had a serious leg injury.

The unconscious aviator was flown back to the Eisenhower, where medical staff declared him dead. His identity has not been disclosed and it was not clear when he would be repatriated.

The U.S. Embassy has obtained Turkish authorization for a guided missile cruiser to begin searching for the plane wreckage to try to identify the cause of the crash, an embassy official said on condition of anonymity. The crash occurred about 10 miles off the coast, in Turkish territorial waters.

The USS Eisenhower, which is based in Norfolk, Va., and had been in the Mediterranean just over a month, was 150 miles southwest of Antalya at the time of the crash.

Written by Harmonie Toros