Missing F-22 pilot update

Air Force officials here announced that search and rescue teams have found conclusive evidence the pilot of the F-22 Raptor missing since the night of Nov. 16 did not survive the crash.

Capt. Jeffrey Haney, assigned to the 3rd Wing’s 525th Fighter Squadron, has been missing since the crash, however, a thorough search and rescue operation continued until today.

Captain Haney, from Clarklake, Mich., was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in August 2003 and has been stationed here since June 2006.

“Based on evidence recovered from the crash site, and after two days of extensive aerial and ground search efforts, we know that Captain Haney did not eject from the aircraft prior to impact,” said Col. Jack McMullen, 3rd Wing commander.

A recovery team at the crash site found a part of the ejection seat, along with several life support items that Captain Haney wore during the flight.

“Sadly, we can no longer consider this a search and rescue operation, but must now focus on recovery operations,” Colonel McMullen said.

“We are all extremely saddened by the loss of this great American, Airman and friend,” the colonel continued. “Captain Haney will be missed by the entire 3rd Wing and the (Joint Base Elmendorf) community.

“Right now, our focus is on Jeff’s family,” Colonel McMullen said. “We mourn their loss, and they are in our thoughts and prayers. We are doing everything in our power to offer them support and aid them during this time of grief.”

The aircraft lost contact with air traffic control at 7:40 p.m. Alaska time, Nov. 16, while on a nighttime training mission. Search and rescue aircraft from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 11th Rescue Coordination Center discovered the wreckage of the aircraft Nov. 17 in a remote, rugged area approximately 100 miles north of Anchorage near Denali National Park.

Airmen and Soldiers from the 3rd Wing, the 673nd Air Base Wing and U.S. Army Alaska’s 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade converged on the site Nov. 17 and 18 with assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard to continue the search for the pilot and prepare for recovery of the aircraft wreckage.

Recovery operations are currently underway and are expected to last several weeks. Air Force officials are standing up a safety investigation board to determine the cause of the mishap.

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