Missing F-22 Pilot Declared Dead
When the wreckage of a lost F-22 Raptor was found last week 100 miles north of Anchorage, U.S. Air Force officials at first could not account for the whereabouts of the pilot, and said "finding the missing pilot is our top priority." The jet hit the ground in a marshy area, and the impact created a large crater that swallowed up much of the wreckage, Col. Jack McMullen told the press. On Friday, the Air Force said they had found "conclusive evidence" that the pilot did not eject prior to impact. Part of the ejection seat was found as well as part of the missing pilot's flight gear, which officials said confirmed that he could not have survived. The missing pilot was identified as Capt. Jeffrey Haney, from Clarklake, Mich., who was assigned to the 3rd Wing's 525th Fighter Squadron.
The Raptor had been part of a two-ship of F-22s on a night training mission. At about 7:40 p.m. local time, the aircraft "fell off the radar scope and the pilot lost communications," according to the Air Force. The crash site was found about 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The weather was reported to be clear at the time of the crash, and no cause for the accident has been found. McMullen said recovery efforts are expected to last several weeks, involving about 130 personnel. "It's a very austere location and we're having to set up tents and food," he said. Temperatures at the site, which is near Denali National Park, can fall to 20 below zero overnight.