TELLICO PLAINS, Tenn. (WATE) — The United States Navy confirmed that two pilots on a military training plane did not survive after a crash near Tellico Plains on Sunday evening.
A spokesperson from the Navy said the plane, a T-45C from Training Team One, was traveling from Meridian, Mississippi. There were two passengers on board, an instructor and a student. As of Monday afternoon, the United States Navy had not released the names of the passengers.
Monroe County Emergency Management said the crash happened at around 4:00 p.m. Sunday in the Cherokee National Forest, near the Tellico Fish Hatchery on River Road. Monroe County Emergency Management Director David Chambers the cause of the crash is still unknown. He said the Tennessee Air National Guard did a flyover Monday afternoon to try to help determine the cause of the crash. Chambers believed debri from the plane scattered for half a mile.
Chambers said the United States Forest Service is using bulldozers to cut a fire line to try to put out hot spots caused by the crash. He said he believes debris from the plane is scattered for half a mile.
“The Navy has not really established a timeline on how long it could take to go through the recovery process, but it could take several days,” said Chambers. “We are treating it with the utmost respect. This is a situation nobody wants to be involved in.”
Donna France said she was in her camper when she saw three military planes. She said two of the planes flew over the mountain and the other went down. Soon after, she heard an explosion.
“It was just heart wrenching,” said France. “It was so loud it shook my camper.”