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F-14 Tomcat crashes during US air show

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June 20, 2000 


WILLOW GROVE, Pennsylvania (AP) - A military plane crashed in the woods during an air show at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, killing the two people aboard, authorities said.


The F-14 Tomcat was taking part in one of the final performances at the Willow Grove 2000 Sounds of Freedom show when it went down at 4:43 p.m. Sunday in a wooded area near houses outside the base, which is 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.


The fighter, based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, carried a pilot and radar intercept officer, said Mike Maus, a spokesman for the Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, in Norfolk, Virginia.


"My information is that both souls on board were lost," Maus said. He said their identities would not be released until next of kin had been notified.


Emergency personnel at the crash scene reported two fatalities, and also said they were the pilot and crew member, said Levent Aydin of Montgomery County emergency dispatch services.


There were no civilian injuries, and no structures were involved.


Three emergency personnel were treated for injuries at the scene of the crash, and one of them, a military firefighter, was transported back to the base for treatment, Aydin said.


The Tomcat apparently was displaying a landing wave-off maneuver, coming in at slow speed, when trouble developed and it careened into the woods, KYW radio reported.


Debi Mullen said the fiery crash frightened her 5-year-old son, Kyle, who eagerly watches planes at the base and idolizes the flyers.


"He (Kyle) said to me, 'Who's the bad guy who hit him out of the sky?' said Mullen, 37, her eyes brimming with tears. "I said, 'There is no bad guy. He fell; it was an accident.' What a tragedy."


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