Navy: Training jet flew too low for thrills, before crash

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Navy is citing pilot error for a military training jet crash in Tennessee that killed the two aboard, saying it was being flown for thrills and too low.

Navy officials say in a report the T-45C Goshawk was flying below allowable altitudes last October when it plunged into woods near Tellico Plains.

The crash killed 31-year-old instructor Lt. Patrick Ruth from Metairie, Louisiana, and 25-year-old student pilot Lt. j.g. Wallace Burch from Horn Lake, Mississippi. Both were stationed at Naval Air Station Meridian in Mississippi.

The report cites a "culture" within the individual training unit and Naval air training at large that allowed pilots to fly "beyond the bounds" of approved Naval Air Training Command curriculum. It also says leadership failed to ensure training operations adhered to approved publications.