F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes in to Virginia Apartment Buildings
RT— Both pilots safely ejected from the plane that moments later crashed into a residential area in Virginia Beach.
Commander Rosi from the US Navy said the aircrew of the plane, which belonged to the VFA-106 strike fighter squadron based in Oceana, have been taken to a nearby hospital.
Witnesses say two apartment buildings near the crash site are on fire, and rescue workers are searching for potential casualties. Military police is also on site. Interstate 264 has been closed down. Thick black smoke can be seen rising from the scene.
A spokesperson from the Virginia Fire department has told reporters the fire has been contained. Reports about potential casualties are conflicting, as some people say at least one person was carried out on a stretcher from one of the apartment buildings that caught on fire after the crash. Beach General Hospital has confirmed both pilots and four civilians were being treated for injuries.
A doctor from the hospital told reporters that both crew members have been treated, with one of them in good condition and the other fair. Four more people were administered to the ER – 2 with smoke inhalation, 1 police officer who was injured at the scene and another civilian who collapsed at the site of the crash.
One of the first peope on the scene told CBS news that he helped move one of the pilots to a safe distance from the blaze. According to the witness, the pilot was conscious and apologized profusely for crashing into the apartment complex.
Reports also suggest at least one apartment building has burnt down completely. Overall, at least 5 buildings and 20 apartment units have been affected by the fire.
Several people have also claimed the fighter jet was seen dumping fuel just before the crash, in order to avoid an explosion upon impact.
Fire officials say Birdneck Elementary School will open as shelter for displaced residents following the crash.
F-18 jets are used by the military for combat operations as well as for aerial displays. But this crash, unfortunately, is not an isolated incident for the US Navy Force fighter jets. The most recent crash involving an F-18 Hornet took place almost exactly one year ago, when 2 crew members died after the jet collapsed moments after takeoff in central California.
Another F-18 crashed into a residential area in San Diego in 2008, killing four people on the ground and destroying a number of houses. In 2011, an F-16 fighter-bomber crashed on landing at an air base in southern Italy after completing a mission in Libya. An F-15 jet also crashed while on a mission in Libya that same year.