By Rob Stapleton
Anchorage, Alaska–(Nov. 20)Air Force officials have announced that the search for the pilot of a U.S Air Force F-22 has been called off after investigators found the ejection seat of the aircraft at the downed jet’s impact location.
The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor single seat stealth aircraft worth with an estimate $150 million was lost during a night time exercise near Denali National Park on Tuesday Nov. 16th.
“Based on evidence recovered from the crash site, and after two days of extensive aerial and ground search efforts, we know that Captain Haney did not eject from the aircraft prior to impact,” said Air Force Col. Jack McMullen, 3rd Wing commander.
A recovery team at the crash site found a part of the ejection seat, along with several life support items that Captain Haney wore during the flight.
Air Force Capt. Jeffrey Haney, assigned to the 525th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Wing, has been missing since the crash reported on Tuesday Nov. 16 however, a thorough search and rescue operation continued until Saturday Nov.20th.
Haney was assigned to the 525th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson spokeswoman Corinna Jones said. He is from Jackson, Mich. Haney, who is married with two children, joined the Air Force in 2003 and has been at the Anchorage base for 4½ years, according to Air Force officials.
The aircraft lost contact with air traffic control at 7:40 p.m. Alaska time, Tuesday, while on a nighttime training mission. Search and rescue aircraft from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 11th Rescue Coordination Center discovered the wreckage of the aircraft on Wednesday in a remote, rugged area approximately 100 miles north of Anchorage near Denali National Park.
Airmen and Soldiers from the 3rd Wing, the 673d Air Base Wing and U.S. Army Alaska’s 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade scoured the site Nov. 17 and 18th with assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard to continue the search for the pilot and prepare for recovery of the aircraft wreckage, according to Air Force reports.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of Captain Haney’s death from this tragic incident,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-AK. “ Captain Haney paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country and we as a nation are forever in his debt. I extend to Captain Haney’s family my most heartfelt sympathies and prayers as they mourn his loss.”
Rob Stapleton can be reached at: [email protected]