ASHVILLE, Ala. (AP) - The names of two Florida Panhandle-based Navy pilots killed when their training aircraft crashed on an Alabama mountain will be released Monday.
Lt. j.g. Brett Dawson says Capt. David Maloney will meet with reporters at 9 a.m. at Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., to discuss the crash and identify the victims.
Whiting Field is the base for Air Training Squadron 6.
The Navy has notified the pilots' families but prefers to finish its investigation before releasing their names publicly.
A Navy helicopter returned the airmen's bodies to Naval Air Station Pensacola tonight. Autopsies are planned over the weekend.
A T-34C Turbo Mentor was conducting a flight training exercise when it crashed about 2:45 p.m. Friday on the south rim of Chandler Mountain, about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham.
The plane crashed near a rocky point on the mountain where hang gliders sometimes take off, according to longtime resident Harold England.
England says he has lived in that area 42 years and he has seen crashes in the area before. He says the mountain "just gets socked in with fog, and they fly right into it."
Jonathan Oakes and some others were stacking hay in a barn when they heard the sound of the plane, then heard what sounded like four or five trees falling.
He went outside and another farm worker had called 911.
Oakes says it took about 10 minutes to spot it. They rode up the road and saw flames. He says it looked like the wing sideswiped the mountain.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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