From staff reports
The United States Navy completed the environmental cleanup, March 20, after a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet, assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing out of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, crashed about nine miles north of the base on March 3, according to a news release from Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs.
“Test results show we have cleaned up the site to Federal and State standards at the crash site,” Navy On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) with Navy Region Southeast (NRSE) John Baxter said in the release. “Clean backfill (soil) was brought in last week after the contaminated soil had been removed from the crash site.”
Members of the OSC program for NRSE, out of Jacksonville, Fla., arrived March 4 to assist safety and investigation teams, and to evaluate the site for environmental impacts. The team evaluated the site upon arrival to determine if there would be any special equipment requirements at the remote area.
The team removed the remaining wreckage March 8 and returned it to MCAS Beaufort where the aircraft investigation board will continue its review.
Soil samples were taken and lab tests conducted as part of the environmental cleanup. The Navy OSC team walked through the impacted area, picking up visible debris and conducted additional soil testing on site.
The Navy OSC team’s goal is to return the land to its previous condition.
“If we are going to respond to a mishap, this is the type of mishap we want to respond to, where there are no casualties,” said Sarah Murtagh, part of the Navy OSC team on site for the cleanup. “The local community has been very supportive while we have been here working nearly two weeks, and that support has contributed to the efficient recovery and restoration efforts.”
The Navy OSC provides emergency cleanup services for Navy incidents that may have an environmental impact to a base or the local community.
The crash investigation is ongoing.