A U.S. Navy team has located a C-2A Greyhound aircraft that crashed in the Philippine Sea on November 22.
The downed aircraft rests at a depth of about 18,500 feet, making the salvage operation the deepest recovery attempt of an aircraft to date, the Navy said, adding it will make every effort will be made to recover the aircraft and fallen Sailors, despite very challenging conditions.
Eight of the 11 crew and passengers on board were recovered immediately following the crash. For the next three days, the U.S. Navy led combined search and rescue for the three missing Sailors with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), covering nearly 1,000 square nautical miles before ending the search.
In December, the Navy team embarked to the crash site on a contracted salvage vessel, and searched for the aircraft's emergency relocation pinger with the U.S. Navy’s towed pinger locator (TPL-25) system, which uses passive sensors to listen for the pinger's frequency.
After poor weather conditions delayed the search efforts, the team was eventually able to deploy the TPL to optimal search depths of 3,000 feet above the ocean floor December 29, marking the aircraft's location, and then returning to port.
The team will soon 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.