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The Associated Press February 12, 2003

Prowler tumbles off deck of USS Stennis, crew members safe

An EA-6B Prowler tumbled into the Pacific Ocean during flight training on the USS Stennis off the coast of Southern California, the Navy reported. Three crewmembers aboard the plane were rescued. The Prowler, assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 129 based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington, lost brake control while landing on the carrier at 9:15 p.m. PST Tuesday.

The crewmembers ejected as the plane rolled off the flight deck. No serious injuries were reported.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The USS Stennis, based at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, is conducting regularly scheduled training exercises following routine maintenance.

Prowlers support air combat operations by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links and communications. The planes, which cost an estimated $52 million each, played a key role in suppressing enemy anti-aircraft defenses during Operation Desert Storm, according to the military policy think-tank globalsecurity.org.

The Stennis returned in May from the Arabian Sea, where the ship's air wing provided support for U.S.-led forces on the ground in Afghanistan, launching thousands of combat sorties from its deck.

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press