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U.S. Navy Jet Crashes Into Virginia Apartment Buildings


U.S. Navy Captain Mark Weisgerber said the cause of the F-18 fighter crash on April 6 appeared to be "catastrophic mechanical malfunction."

U.S. Navy Captain Mark Weisgerber said the cause of the F-18 fighter crash on April 6 appeared to be "catastrophic mechanical malfunction."

At least six people have been hospitalized after a U.S. Navy jet crashed into an apartment building in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Both pilots ejected from the F-18 fighter before it crashed.

U.S. Navy Captain Mark Weisgerber said the cause of the crash on April 6 appeared to be "catastrophic mechanical malfunction."

The head of the Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services said witnesses saw fuel being dumped from the jet before it went down, which probably prevented what could have been "an absolute massive fireball and fire."

It was unclear if the pilots dumped the fuel or if that was part of the malfunction.

One witness at the scene of the accident said she saw one of the pilots as he was being helped by local residents.

"They asked him if he was alright and he said, 'I'm sorry I destroyed your home,'" she said. "And he was covered in blood but he was conscious, so they then, I guess, loaded him into an ambulance."

Hospital officials later said both pilots were "doing well," as were the other people injured who were being treated for what were described as "non-life-threatening injuries."

The area where the plane crashed is near several military bases, including the Naval Air Station Oceana, where the plane involved in the April 6 crash was based.

The site of the crash was less than 16 kilometers from the Oceana base.

Emergency crews were still looking through the rubble of the buildings that suffered the most damage in the crash.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said some residents of the buildings remained unaccounted for but so far no deaths had been reported and officials were hoping for a "Good Friday miracle," with no loss of life.

Governor McDonnell credited the pilots for acting to prevent what could have been a much worse disaster and emergency workers on the ground for their prompt response to the scene and great work in tending to the wounded and containing the fire.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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