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Navy surveillance plane crashes off Virginia; crew member killed

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Navy surveillance plane crashes off Virginia; crew member killed
An E-2D Hawkeye similar to this one crashed off the East Coast on Wednesday near the Virginia-Maryland border. The cause of the crash, which killed one Navy sailor and injured two others, wasn't immediately known. File Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Will Hardy/U.S. Navy/UPI

March 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. Navy sailor was killed and two others were injured late on Wednesday when their reconnaissance aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast near the Virginia-Maryland border, military officials said.

The Navy said the plane, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, went down in the waters near Wallops Island and Chincoteague, Va., at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

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Wallops Island is located just a few miles southeast of the Virginia-Maryland border.

Authorities said that plane was carrying three sailors -- two of which received non-life-threatening injuries. WRIC-TV reported that the injured sailors each sustained a broken leg. The dead sailor was found inside the plane.

Several variants exist for the E-2 Hawkeye, which first entered military service in 1964. The latest version, the E-2D, entered service in 2010. File Photo by Todd Frantom/U.S. Navy/UPI

The Navy did not immediately identify any of the sailors involved in the crash.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a twin-engine turboprop surveillance and early-warning and control aircraft, which use radar to detect and monitor activity from the air. Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, it was introduced into Navy service in 1964.

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The E-2D is the most technologically advanced of the Hawkeyes. Entering military service in 2010, it features improved avionics, enhanced radar capabilities, upgraded satellite communications abilities and a glass cockpit. It has a 24-foot radar rotodome on top of the fuselage.

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The plane that crashed on Wednesday was assigned to the East Coast Airborne Command and Control Squadron, officials said.

The E-2 Hawkeye has a solid safety record since it entered military service. Four people were killed in a crash involving a Coast Guard E-2C Hawkeye in 1990 when it caught fire and went down in Puerto Rico. Officials said it had been monitoring drug traffickers when the fire started on board.

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