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Three killed as Navy jet crashes in Washington state

Courtesy Stan Dammel

The jet, flying from Naval Air Station Whidbey, crashed near Harrington, Wash.. on Monday, March 11.

A Navy jet on a routine training mission crashed Monday in a remote field in eastern Washington, killing all three on board, defense officials told NBC News.

The plane crashed near the town of Harrington, about 50 miles southwest of Spokane, about 8:45 a.m. (11:45 a.m. ET), the Navy and local media reported. It was flying out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, in western Washington north of Seattle, the Navy confirmed.

The victims' identities were being withheld until their families could be notified.

The jet, a Northrop-Grumman EA-6B Prowler, can accommodate two to four people. It's flown by the Navy and the Marine Corps and specializes in jamming enemy radar and intercepting radio transmissions.

Witnesses told NBC station KHQ of Spokane that they saw a large black plume of smoke. One described it as a black mushroom cloud that could be seen as far away as Davenport, about 25 miles away.

The owner of the wheat field where the plane crashed told KHQ that when he arrived at the scene, there were no signs of a parachute ejection.

Stan Dammel, manager of Odessa Municipal Airport, told the Spokesman-Review newspaper of Spokane that the crash scene "looked like an ink spot down there."

Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube of NBC News contributed to this report.

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