An F/A-18 Navy fighter jet crashed into five Virginia Beach apartment buildings in a complex Friday and authorities initially suspected three residents were missing after going through a checklist of occupants. Fortunately, while there were at least seven injuries, there were no apparent deaths as a result of the accident.
Previous reporting indicated that three people were missing. More than 24 people spent the night in temporary shelter provided by authorities.
Both pilots involved in the F18 crash were injured, but only one pilot remains at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital come Saturday and his condition was listed as “good.” The two pilots managed to safely eject themselves from the aircraft prior to crashing in a fiery wreck.
The F-18 fighter jet crash occurred after a “catastrophic mechanical malfunction” which occurred during Friday’s takeoff. Typically, aircraft are not usually seen raining fuel prior to being engulfed in flames in a fiery crash. While the crash is currently still under investigation, Navy Cpt. Mark Weisgerber was quoted in a report having said:
“One of the indications that there was a mechanical malfunction.”
The two-seat F18 Navy aircraft carried no live ordnance (weapons) as an experienced pilot and a pilot-in-training were simply on a routine exercise designed to train the student to properly fly the hi-tech jet.
After the plane crashed, the pilot apologized to residents that quickly pulled him away from the fiery crash.
One of the ejection seat shells tore through an oak tree and landed in a condo fence. According to a local resident, Keith Gutkowski, this was an indication of the low altitude at which the Navy pilots ejected from the cockpit of their malfunctioning F/A-18 jet fighter.
Navy F/A-18 Fighter Jet Crash In Virginia Beach Video: