April 3rd, 2010
01:20 PM ET

U.S. aviator declared dead after crash

An aviator missing after a crash this week in the North Arabian Sea has been declared dead, the U.S. Navy said.

Lt. Steven Zilberman, 31 - who was born in Ukraine and considered Columbus, Ohio, his hometown - served in the Navy for nearly eight years, the Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said in a statement Friday.

Zilberman was missing after an E-2C Hawkeye from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower crashed Wednesday five miles from the carrier.

The Fifth Fleet said it suspended a search-and-rescue effort for Zilberman on Friday evening.

The Hawkeye, a twin turboprop aircraft that performs early warning and air traffic control functions, had been conducting duties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the name used for the war in Afghanistan, when the aircraft "experienced mechanical malfunctions," the statement said.

The crew then "performed a controlled bailout," the Navy said.  Three of the four crew members were rescued soon after the accident and returned to the Eisenhower in good condition.

Several ships and aircraft searched more than 5,300-square miles for Zilberman, the Fifth Fleet said.

"We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss of a fellow aviator and shipmate," said Capt. Roy Kelley. "He will be truly missed, and our heart goes out to the Zilberman family during this very difficult time."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • U.S. • World
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. elain

    God Bless this hero and this great tragedy and loss for his family. God be with them!! His family is staying in my prayers, as my son is currently aboard the U.S.S. Eisnehower and I am positive this has deeply saddened all crew serving and involved in the search and rescue of this "Hero"!

    April 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bluetail Mom

    I am deeply saddened at the loss of this great hero,husband,father,and son. My son is in the same squadron and a good friend of his. We did not know,for awhile,which "hero" was missing,including our son, but we prayed for this missing person to be rescued. We are still praying for the Zilberman family and to all who are in harm's way. Godspeed to each and everyone of you.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Loyd W. McBride, Cmsgt USAF ret.

    So sorry to hear of this tragedy. Our grandson serves abord the Ike, and according to him it was like losing a brother. We are so proud of all the men and women serving aboard the Ike. We honor you and love you. Take care.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Douglas Storie, AT1, US Navy (Retired)

    My heart goes out to the family and shipmates of Lt Zilberman. He will be remembered by all who knew him and flew with him.

    April 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jo Marie Johnson

    This saddens me to hear about a young life being lost. My granddaughter is serving on the Uss Eisenhower. Accidents like this will always be hard on family, friends, and fellow service men and women.

    April 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joe

    Haven't been on the Ike for nearly 20 years, but it still hits home. There's a comradity that exists between shipmates that last forever, its as though the IKE is a partof you forever. Fair winds and following seas my brother; may the sirensof the sea bless you for eternity.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. West

    My son was also on the Ike. Difficult to pray that it isn't your son knowing that for me to get what I want, someone else's son has to not come home.

    July 31, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |