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Navy Plane with 2 Aboard Crashes

May 18, 1995

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) _ Searchers today found the wreckage of a Navy training flight from San Diego to St. Louis that crashed in a snowstorm, killing a rear admiral and a commander.

Kirtland Air Force Base spokesman George Pearce said a search crew found the wreckage of the two-seat FA-18D Hornet on a ridge at 9:30 a.m. The plane disappeared Wednesday.

The Navy had identified the two men aboard the craft as Rear Adm. James Prout III, commander of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson carrier battle group, and Cmdr. Joseph Kleefisch, head of Strike Fighter Squadron 25 based at Lemoore Naval Air Station, Calif.

The plane took off from Miramar Naval Air Station at San Diego and was headed to St. Louis.

Bad weather had hampered the search on Wednesday, but the weather cleared this morning.

The crash site is some 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe in the north-central part of the state.

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