SOURCE: Air Force News
DATE: FEB 05, 2008
BY: Suzanne Roig and Kim Fassler - Honolulu Advertiser
F-15 pilot named, was rescued by Coast Guard
The Air Force yesterday identified Lt. Col. Christopher Faurot as the pilot of the F-15 fighter that crashed in the ocean off O’ahu on Friday.
Neighbors last night said they had begun to wonder if the downed pilot might be Faurot after not seeing signs of him, his wife or children over the weekend.
Video: Pilot plucked from the Pacific
“I’m just glad he’s all right,” said Scilla Purington, who lives across the street from the Faurots’ home in Lanikai. “When we heard, we immediately thought it might be him.”
Purington described Faurot as a “great guy” with a “lovely family.”
The pilot ejected from the plane and was plucked from the ocean by helicopter and taken to The Queen’s Medical Center in good condition and in good spirits, military officials said after the crash.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has suspended its search for debris from the downed F-15 and is leaving the salvage of the wreckage to the Hawaii Air National Guard.
Coast Guard Lt. John Titchen said the Coast Guard discontinued its search after not finding any debris.
“We were more concerned about the debris field left behind that [would] pose a threat to navigation, or any pollution left in the water,” Titchen said. “Anything left by the plane would be a hazard to boats.”
The fighter crashed at 1:37 p.m. Friday, 60 miles south of Oahu, after the pilot lost altitude and control, officials have said.
Three rescue aircraft crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard cutter Ahi, an 87-foot patrol boat, immediately responded to the incident, according to a Coast Guard press release, which also said the service was notified at 1:45 p.m. concerning the distress.
Crewmembers from the cutter Ahi, the cutter Kukui, a 225-foot buoy tender, and Coast Guard aircraft crews will stay on scene to check for pollution and debris.
An interim safety board has been convened to assemble evidence from the crash. A safety board will review the evidence and look for safety problems related to the crash, said Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, a Pacific Air Force spokeswoman at Hickam. At any point, an accident investigation board can be convened, Clayton said. The safety board has 30 days to determine the cause of the accident. At that point, if it is decided that the aircraft had safety problems, then the information would not be made public, Clayton said.
“We take safety very seriously,” Clayton said. “We pride ourselves on being safe.”
In the hours after the crash, military officials described the pilot as experienced.
Neighbor Dave Purington said he sometimes discussed flying with Faurot.
“He’s been around the block when it comes to military airplanes,” he said.
“I know that just from the feelings I got from the people who would come around, they had lots of respect for him,” he said.
“I’m not surprised he got through OK,” he added. “He’s very proficient.”
Sincere condolences to all Norwegians! I guess you will need some aquevit to get over this.