Deepest Navy recovery attempt of an aircraft hopes to recover fallen Sailors as well

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The Navy will attempt its deepest recovery of an aircraft to date when it attempts to recover a downed C-2A Greyhound from the Philippine Sea.

The C-2A Greyhound was on the way to the USS Ronald Reagan when it crashed on November 22, 2017.

Assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC 30) forward deployed to Japan, the C-2A was carrying 11 crew and passengers at the time.

Eight people were recovered immediately by Navy helicopters.

For the next three days, the USS Ronald Reagan led combined search and rescue for three missing Sailors with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), covering nearly 1,000 square nautical miles before ending the search.

A team of deep water salvage experts led by United States Navy's Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) deployed from Washington, D.C. to find the plane.

They searched for the aircraft’s emergency relocation pinger with a Navy-owned towed pinger locator system. It uses passive sensors to “listen” for the pinger’s frequency.

Initially delayed by poor weather conditions, the team found the aircraft on December 29, 2017 and  after marking the aircraft’s location, the search team returned to port.

The C-2A is resting at a depth of about 18,500 feet, making the salvage phase of the operation the deepest recovery attempt of an aircraft ever.

The team is expected to return to the site with a side-scan-sonar (SSS) and remote operated vehicle (ROV) to map the debris field and attach heavy lines for lifting the aircraft to the surface.

In a statement, the Navy says despite very challenging conditions, every effort will be made to recover the aircraft and the fallen Sailors.

An investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.