Jacksonville, FL (Off Shore) Jet Crashes On USS NIMITZ, May 1981

NIMITZ RETURNS TO NORFOLK.

MOST INJURED BACK ON DUTY.

Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) -- The USS Nimitz steamed toward its home port of Norfolk, Va., today with 20 damaged planes on its deck and a grim cargo below -- the corpses of 14 servicemen who died when a jt crashed in flames on the aircraft carrier.
The accident also injured 48 people.
Despite the damage to the aircraft, estimated at more than $60 million, damage to the nuclear-powered ship itself was "not extraordinarily heavy"
according to Capt. Larry Hamilton, chief public affairs officer for the Atlantic Fleet.
"The carrier most likely will be able to do a quick turnaround," he said.
The Navy said results of an official investigation into the crash of the electronic warfare jet may not be available for six months. But a Navy spokesman who asked not to be identified said the jet apparently "landed a little right of the center line and on a carrier deck there isn't any room for an error like that."
Twenty-one crewmen were airlifted to land-based hospitals for treatment. One crewman, listed in critical condition, was at St. Vincent's Hospital in Jacksonville, and four burn victims were airlifted to the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, a spokesman there said. The others were treated at the Naval Regional Medical Center at Jacksonville, none with critical injuries.
Of the 27 injured about the Nimitz, all but four have returned to duty, officials said. The four still in sick bay were not in serious condition, but officials said they would be taken to Portsmouth Naval Hospital for observation.
The Marine EA-6B Prowler, made by Grumman Corp., crashed while landing from a training mission Tuesday night, sparking a fire on the Nimitz, the world's largest warship, off the Florida coast.
The blaze quickly spread to other aircraft, reported Cmdr. Jim Lois, spokesman for the Naval Air Forces Atlantic. "As far as I know, wheather was not a factor," he added.
Ship firefighters battled the blaze for 70 minutes before putting it out, officials said.
Lois said damage to the carrier was confined to the flight deck area. Four aircraft were destroyed, including the one that crashed, and 16 others were damaged. The Nimitz is able to carry 90 aircraft, Navy officials said, but they declined to say how many were aboard Tuesday.
The four destroyed planes were worth more than $60 million, the Navy said. There was no estimate on the cost of the damage to the others.
Cindy Williams, wife of Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Williams, quoted her husband as saying it sounded like a bomb had gone off when the crash occurred.
"He told me he just couldn't get out of the way," she said Wednesday after visiting her injured husband in Jacksonville, where he was taken after the crash.
An unidentified Navy man who flew to the Nimitzfrom Jacksonville in a rescue helicopter said when he arrived to ferry the injured to Florida,
"people were still running around not knowing what to do."
The ship, carrying about 3,000 sailors and 2,500 airmen, started back on the 500-mile voyage to Norfolk shortly after the crash.
Among the dead were all three crewmen aboard the Marine EA-6B.

Continued on Page 2.

Comments

Nimitz crash of 81

Hey Murph! Good to see you're still kicking! How are you doing? Been reconnecting with some of our V-4 crew on Facebook...found em on there last spring while I was recalling the 81 crash. I also worked Flight Deck fuels & was probably a QA fuels sentry when you came aboard, but was TAD Mess duty when the crash happened. Later, Scott Cook

crash

i was there on the deck the night of the crash i was working flight ops with va-86 sidewinders when the crash happen. i was injured when my hose team went in to drop a sidewinder off one of the tomcats and it exploded in our face. i remember my shipmate that are dead and injured every anniversary god bless all of you and your families. AMS2 James R. Evans disabled veteran

crash

i was there on the deck the night of the crash i was working flight ops with va-86 sidewinders when the crash happen. i was injured when my hose team went in to drop a sidewinder off one of the tomcats and it exploded in our face. i remember my shipmate that are dead and injured every anniversary god bless all of you and your families. AMS2 James R. Evans disabled veteran

my boyfriend at the time was

my boyfriend at the time was also in va35. Mac (Stephen Macnamee). He came back with the story of the guy who lost his head, that story has stayed with me all these years. The PTSD has got to be bad from all who were there that day.

I was a primary nozzleman that night

I was primary nozzleman on the flt deck. If you have a question send it to me via my email. [email protected]

Nimitz

I was fueling an F-14 in the crotch right before the accident. Dennis Driscoll came to relieve me for mid-rats I wasn't even half way across the deck to go back to v-4's flight deck shelter and Dennis was dead. it couldn't have been 10 or 15 seconds after he took hold of the fuel nozzle and the crash happened. as those that were there know,that was the first Aircraft that was hit. I cant get it out of my mind, 35 years later and I still wake up to that fire. RIP Dennis

Crash on the Nimitz

I was there that night. Attached to VA-35. Good friends with AN Patrick Louis. I have spent decades putting this out of my mind.

81 nimitz crash

Guys, just found the forum looking for info on the crash. I was there. I was doing a post flight inspection when it happened. not sure if i remember any of the 14 but do remember the wreck. it has haunted me for years. it was a terrible night. i could try to answer any of your questions but like i said i was in a squadron not ships company but i had black shoe friends.

Frank Swider

I and to school with Frank too, Veazie Street and Esek Hopkins, he was my first boyfriend, I remember him like it was yesterday. Who are you?

Rob Iser

Went to Ft.Snelling today with my daughter,to honor my old friend.still a hole in my heart 33 years later.Rob was a fun guy.Till we meet again.