Navy identifies officer killed in plane crash off Va. coast

The Navy identified the service member killed in a plane crash Wednesday near Chincoteague in Accomack County, Virginia.

Lt. Hyrum Hanlon, who reported to the Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 120 out of Norfolk, died when a E-2D Hawkeye plane crashed into the water during a routine exercise near Wildcat Marsh at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Hanlon had been in the Navy for five years since being commissioned out of Arizona State University in 2017. He reported to VAW-120 in Virginia in January 2021, the Navy said.

Cmdr. Martin Fentress Jr. said in a statement Friday that the squadron appreciates the public respecting Hanlon’s family privacy during “this difficult time.”

Lt. Hyrum Hanlon was killed in a plane crash in Chincoteague, Virginia. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

“It takes a courageous and patriotic person to devote their life to the selflessness of serving in the armed forces,” Fentress Jr. said. “Hyrum embodied those characteristics and will be truly missed by his family and the Hawkeye community.”

Hanlon was one of three people in the plane at the time of the crash. Once the plane was located “partially submerged under water” north of the Chincoteague Island, rescue crews from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and EMS helped rescued two people aboard.

Dive teams from Salisbury and Ocean City, Maryland, responded to the scene to locate the missing passenger, identified as Hanlon. Crews later found him dead in the aircraft.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The Navy said it is working with state and local officials in the cleanup effort of any plane remains that may still be the water. The aircraft reported no pollution or discharge of fuel.

WTOP’s Alicia Abelson contributed to this story.

Jose Umana

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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