Pilots Eject, Airplane Impacts Apartment Building
A Navy F/A-18D on a training mission went down just after takeoff Friday afternoon, impacting an apartment building after the pilots ejected. Both pilots, along with four people on the ground, were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The plane went down about 1205 EDT. Television station WTKR in Virginia said that the number of injured was expected to grow.
Witnesses said they saw fuel being dumped from the jet before it went down. Virginia Beach EMS division chief Bruce Nedelka told CBS News that fuel was found on several buildings and vehicles in the vicinity of the accident. Nedelaka said the fuel dump prevented what would have been a massive fireball when the jet impacted the building.
The jet had had departed NAS Oceana. The apartment building is located in the Hampton Roads area nearby. Three buildings were reportedly destroyed, and two more were damaged, according to CBS.
Adm. John C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces released the following statement:
"My thoughts and prayers are with our citizens and families who have been impacted by the tragic crash today in Virginia Beach by an aircraft from NAS Oceana.
"I deeply regret that some in our community have lost their homes, and I, like many, pray for the well-being of all.
"I must also offer my deepest gratitude to the citizens of Virginia Beach and the Mayfair Mews Apartments, as well as Virginia Beach's first responders, for their immediate and heroic response to take care of our aircrew after they ejected and all at the scene of the mishap.
"I have spoken with Mayor Sessoms, and all the resources of the Navy in Hampton Roads are being made available to the City of Virginia Beach as we all deal with the impacts and recovery from this terrible mishap.
"We will continue to work directly with the City of Virginia Beach and continue to provide all possible assistance.
"We will conduct a complete investigation into the cause of this mishap and share all information we have as soon as we are able to do so."
VFA-106 is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, and serves as the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron. Their mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 replacement pilots and weapon systems officers to support fleet commitments. (F/A-18 file image)