FOLEY, Alabama — The U.S. Navy has identified two service members who were killed in a plane crash during a routine training flight. The plane took off from Florida Friday and crashed shortly after in a residential neighborhood in Alabama near the Gulf Coast, killing both people in the plane, authorities said.
Navy instructor pilot Lt. Rhiannon Ross, 30, along with her student, Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, 24, were killed when their Navy T-6B Texan II trainer aircraft crashed in a residential area in Foley, Alabama, the U.S. Navy said.
Lt. Ross was from Wixom, Michigan and Ensign Garret was from Waxhaw, North Carolina.
Cmdr. Wes Barnes expressed his sadness on the Facebook page for the Chief of Naval Air Training writing, “I cannot express the devastation we all feel at this time.”
Cmdr. Barnes went on to write, "I’d like to personally thank [you for] all of the support we have received from family, friends and colleagues from all over. I encourage everyone to take care of each other and the families directly affected by this tragedy as we navigate through the healing process.”
Zach Harrell, a spokesperson for Commander, Naval Air Forces, announced after the crash that both service members in the T-6B Texan II training plane died, but the Navy didn't immediately release their names at the time. No injuries were reported on the ground.
Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby said responders encountered a “large volume of fire” with a home and several cars engulfed in flames. Firefighters were able to make “a quick stop on the fire,” the chief told local news outlets.
The crash occurred southeast of Mobile, near the city of Foley and the town of Magnolia Springs. Darby called the neighborhood a “heavily populated” residential area. No firefighters were injured, he added.
The plane had flown out of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, about 30 miles northeast of Pensacola, Florida, Navy spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn said.
The U.S. Department of Defense and the Navy were set to handle the investigation, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office tweeted.