HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The wreckage of the fighter jet that crashed off Honolulu more than three weeks ago still hasn’t been recovered.
The Hawker Hunter plunged into the ocean just after takeoff during the Aloha Sentry exercise on December 13. The pilot ejected and is recovering after having back surgery.
Environmentalists are asking why the wrecked aircraft still hasn’t bee pulled from the ocean. Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) owns the aircraft.
At last check, the company said it was working with Parker Marine on Oahu to remove the plane. The wreckage is deep under water and the company says the removal will most likely require special equipment.
“No matter how significant or insignificant they may quantify this, to me as a concerned citizen for the environment, this should be cleaned up without any hesitation. Whatever the cost is,” said Carroll Cox of Envirowatch, Inc.
Cox says he is concerned that the jet fuel inside the aircraft could harm marine life and the coral reef.
“Whatever is there is going to be leaking for some while, but as it goes on for years it may get corroded, then we have a mess on our hands,” added Cox.
He admits that the majority of any leaked jet fuel has likely evaporated but there maybe other chemical elements within the fuel that could cause problems. While the environmental impacts could be minimal, Cox says the lack of information and action is concerning.
“But when you have an accident such as this, transparency would compliment what went with the accident and let us know upfront - what is the problem, should we be concerned?” asked Cox.
The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the crash. A military spokesman says the private contractor is responsible for recovering the jet.
Our calls and emails to ATAC went unanswered. When Hawaii News Now last spoke with a company representative on Dec. 22, there was no timeline for when the jet would be recovered.