Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Air Force identifies pilot in jet crash

By Suzanne Roig and Kim Fassler
Advertiser Staff Writers

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.

"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. No update on his condition was available yesterday.

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 Hawai'i 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 O'ahu, after the pilot lost altitude and control, officials have said.

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 at Hickam spokeswoman. 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."

Reach Suzanne Roig at sroig@honoluluadvertiser.com.