Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Piece Of Navy Jet That Crashed Off Florida Washes Up In Ireland

May 09, 2006

NORFOLK, Va. -- A tail section from a U.S. Navy fighter jet that crashed 3½ years ago off Key West, Fla., has turned up 4,900 miles away on a beach in Ireland.

A retired commercial airline captain, identified by the Irish Examiner newspaper as Charlie Coughlan, discovered the tail piece Friday. The Navy confirmed Tuesday that markings on the section, including squadron insignia and a serial number, pointed to the downed F-14 Tomcat.

Currents from the Gulf of Mexico near the tip of Florida might have floated the nearly 10-foot-long triangular piece of vertical stabilizer, one of two on the plane, to the beach in West Cork on Ireland's southern shore.

The F-14, based in Virginia, crashed near Key West in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 3, 2002, during a training mission. Both crew members ejected safely.



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