YOKOSUKA, Japan - The Navy says a mission to map the wreckage of a C-2A Greyhound aircraft that crashed last year in the Philippine Sea has revealed that the plane is sitting in two main sections on the ocean floor.
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, while three others died.
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.
From February 2-5, a research vessel side scan sonar and remote operated vehicle mapped the wreckage.
They determined the aircraft is in two main sections on the ocean floor: cockpit and fuselage.
They also determined the flight recorder, or black box, is still intact.
The Navy is still planning to salvage the wreckage, but warn the environmental challenges will be very difficult.
The plane is more than 18,000 feet below the surface, making it the deepest recovery ever attempted. The team will have to deal with deep water rigging and weather that could impact the recovery.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.