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Monday, December 8, 2008

F18 Hornet Crashes into Residential Neighbourhood Killing 3

An F18 fighter jet crashed into a residential area in the US after the pilot ejected, killing three people on the ground and destroying two homes.

One person is missing in the crash in a suburb of San Diego, California.

Jerry Sanders, the San Diego Mayor, said the victims might have been in a home where there were reports that a mother, grandmother and two children were present.

The bodies of the victims were found in the scorched rubble of the crash site. One person is still missing, officials said. Television images showed smoke billowing from the crash site near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

A police spokeswoman said a medical examiner is going through destroyed homes to determine whether there are more victims.

The pilot crashed on a school sports field two miles from the airfield having just taken off from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific as part of a training exercise. He is in a stable condition at a naval medical hospital.

Two houses were destroyed and one damaged, said San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who viewed the aftermath. The plane crashed near Interstate 805 around noon local time as it prepared to land, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The exact cause of the accident was not known but Steve Diamond, a former military pilot who witnessed the crash, said the pilot had told him the plane suffered a mechanical problem. The pilot was flying quite low in the moments before he ejected, Mr Diamond said. “Other than that, there was no overt indication of any kind of catastrophic failure,” he added.

The pilot appeared to be unhurt, Mr Diamond said. “Turns out that after he extracted himself from the tree, he was OK. He was in good shape.”

A large, busy area of the city was blocked off to traffic, creating a long tailback on Interstate 805. Students at the nearby University City High School were kept locked in classrooms, but there was no damage to the campus and no one was injured, said Barbara Prince, a school secretary.

There was little sign of the plane in the smoky ruins, but a piece of cockpit sat on the roof of one home. A parachute lay in a canyon below the middle-class neighbourhood. Ambulances, fire trucks and police cars choked the streets.

A Navy bomb disposal truck was at the site. Authorities told observers to leave because the smoke was toxic.

Steve Krasner, who lives a few blocks away in the earthquake-prone region, said he first thought the shaking generated by the crash was the long-anticipated “Big One”. He was in his kitchen when he heard two loud explosions and looked outside, then heard a larger blast.

“The house shook, the ground shook. It was like I was frozen in my place,” Mr Krasner said. “It was bigger than any earthquake I ever felt,” he added. “The flames were billowing overhead.”

The F18 is a supersonic jet used widely in the Navy and Marine Corps and by the Navy’s stunt-flying Blue Angels. An F18 crashed at Miramar in November 2006, but the pilot also ejected safely that time.

Miramar, well known for its role in the movie “Top Gun,” is home to some 10,000 Marines. It was operated by the Navy until 1996.

a US Military F-18 Super Hornet plane crashed in a suburban neighborhood of San Diego, near the University district, today, December 8, 2008. Videos and pictures show the area in flames and firefighters on the scene. The sole pilot of the F-18 plane crash on a training exercise so far is the only person known to be hurt after he ejected from the landed in a tree. The cause of the plane crash will be investigated to determine pilot or plane error and other problems.

Here is a video of the Crash

Earlier this year in February according to Javno, two F-15C Stealth Bombers collided midair over the Gulf of Mexico during training exercises. And another F-15C plane crashed during takeoff from the Pacific Island of Guam on February 23, 2008. In these three plane crashes, the pilots were able to eject from their planes. In 2007, an MH-53 Military helicopter crashed with seven soliders aboard during a training exercise, according to WikiNews.

A video on YouTube talks about the underlying problems of military mistakes and accidents like the F18 Super Hornet crash in San Diego and the earlier F-15C plane crashes, namely pilots and soldiers are human and can make mistakes. The YouTube video clearly shows why training is required. Without training, expensive equipment may not be controlled properly resulting in the operators injury and damage in unplanned places. Our current level of military readiness, with over 3 million persons in the military according to Wikipedia, requires the training. Another hot video at YouTube shows a runway wipeout of a F-18 Super Hornet.


A fighter jet returning to a Marine base after a training exercise crashed in flames in a San Diego neighborhood Monday, killing three people on the ground, leaving one missing and destroying two homes.

The pilot of the F/A-18D Hornet jet ejected safely just before the crash around noon at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Explosions rocked a neighborhood of half-million-dollar homes, sending flames and plumes of smoke skyward.

"The house shook; the ground shook. It was like I was frozen in my place," said Steve Krasner, who lives a few blocks from the crash. "It was bigger than any earthquake I ever felt."

Three people were killed in a house where two children, a mother and a grandmother were believed to be at the time of the crash, but fire officials did not immediately know who died. Another person remained missing, and officials said the search was suspended until Tuesday morning.

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