Whidbey Island residents grieve after Navy jet crash

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. -- A small town shaken after a EA-6BNavy Prowler jet crashed Monday morning in Eastern Washington, killing all 3 on board.

The Prowler took off from the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Monday. The NAS Whidby Island is home to the US Navy’s tactical electronic warfare squadron. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Navy has not yet released the names of the victims in the crash.

But, when the news of the crash spread, there was panic in the community, knowing the town had lost a few of its own. The panic turned into grief. By Monday night, Catalina Drive was illuminated with dozens of candles. More than a 100 people gathered for a vigil to pray for the victims.

“My heart all but stopped when I heard the news,” said Tara Hizon. Hizon is an Oak Harbor City Council member who organized the vigil.

There are no obvious leftovers of the Prowler except for a big imprint and debris. A manager at a nearby airport, Stan Dammel, snapped a picture after flying over the crash site. Dammel said he heard about the crash over the scanner.

“There is charred ground and small debris all over the place,” said Dammel.

Officials say there were no parachutes found on the ground.

Seasha Hassett, a resident who said her friend worked at NAS Whidbey Island, prepared the parachutes before the crew took off Monday morning.

“It is hard we get to know each other,” said Hassett.

It’s that familiarity that is the hardest for this tight knit community.

“We want to honor them and any other military for their service and what they do,” said Tina Wieldraayer-Provoncha.