PITTSFIELD (CBS/AP) – One of the three sailors killed in a plane crash last week had ties to Massachusetts.

Family members say 28-year-old Navy pilot Lt. Steven Combs Jr. grew up in Dalton and graduated from St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield.

steven combs Heroic Navy Lieutenant Killed In Plane Crash Grew Up In Massachusetts

Lt. Steven Combs (Courtesy Photo)

Combs was one of the 11 service members on board a plane that crashed off the coast of Japan last Wednesday. Eight survivors were rescued.

One of Combs’ sisters, Elizabeth Combs, says her brother was piloting the aircraft and managed to settle it in the sea, allowing for the rescue of the eight people who survived. The Navy called Combs’ actions “heroic.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these Sailors,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet, in a statement. “Their service and sacrifice will be lasting in Seventh Fleet and we will continue to stand the watch for them, as they did bravely for all of us.”

The aircraft was en route to the USS Ronald Reagan when it crashed. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

His sister says Combs was a natural athlete who played soccer, softball and baseball but had a passion for skiing.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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