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Report Blames Unfastened Bolts For Accident Onboard USS George Washington

Island Boy

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WAVY News 10 has obtained new information about a Navy accident that cost tens of millions of dollars and injured eight sailors.

The incident happened aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington last September.

10 On Your Side has obtained a copy of the final investigation through the Freedom of Information Act. While the report contains a great deal of information, it boils down the accident to one thing - bolts that were not tightened.

"It was like a loud whip," remembers Thomas Webb, a sailor onboard the USS George Washington last September. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. That wire comes back like a bullet."

It was on September 11, 2003, when an F/A-18 Hornet coming in for a landing when the number four arresting wire snapped.

The jet plunged into the sea. The pilot ejected safely.

The arresting wire - three inches of wrapped steel - snapped on the flight deck, injuring five sailors bad enough that they were airlifted back to Hampton Roads. Two of the injured are still recovering.

The Navy's investigation explains why the wire broke.

The crew has just fixed an engine for the wire underneath the flight deck the week before. When they were putting the machine back together, seven bolts on a cover were not fastened. They came loose, starting a chain reaction which resulted in a jet in the water and a huge metal cable flying through the crowded flight deck.

Although no one was killed, the accident cost the Navy millions of dollars.

The lost F/A-18 Hornet cost taxpayers $32 million. A Tomcat and Hawkeye were also damaged, as was an antenna onboard the ship. Total cost, nearly $33 million.

How did no one notice the bolts weren't fastened? The report points to big problems in that maintenance department. The investigator saying "had maintenance personnel compiled with proper maintenance procedure...this mishap would have been averted."

After this accident, the arresting gear on all carriers was inspected.

The G.W. Maintenance Department also underwent a thorough audit.

Im guessin the audit is a nice way of sayin alot of ppl were canned or punished!!!

:laugh: :laugh:

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