Three people who died when a jet crashed off California’s San Clemente Island this week were taking part in a U.S. Navy training exercise, their employer confirmed Friday.
The victims, Eric Tatman, Spencer Geerlings and Shane Garner worked for Georgia-based Phoenix Air, a company with clients in the private sector and government, according to its website.
The three men perished when the Phoenix Air Learjet 36 went down roughly one-mile southwest of San Clemente Island, which is the southernmost of California’s Channel Islands, around 7:40 a.m. Wednesday morning, officials said.
San Clemente Island is owned and managed by the Navy, and the plane was one of two Phoenix Air Learjets participating in the military training exercise, the company said.
The other jet landed safely.
U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection crews located a debris field in the water on Wednesday but the remains of the victim have not yet been located.
“The entire Phoenix Air Family is supporting our fallen colleagues’ families,” the company said in a statement to KTLA.
The National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and U.S. Department of Defense are investigating the cause of the crash.
Phoenix Air has been involved in U.S. Navy and Department of Defense readiness training for over 20 years, the company said.