Five people have been transported to hospital after an F18 fighter jet has crashed into an apartment complex in Virgina Beach. Initial reports indicate the two pilots ejected and have both survived the crash. The F-18 jet was about 1.5 miles northeast of Oceana and were about a mile short of the beach when they hit the apartment complex.
The injured, two pilots and three civilians, do not appear to have sustained life threatening injuries, according to eyewitnesses on the ground.
There appears to have been a technical difficulty aboard the jet, when the pilots first became airborne on what was a routine training exercise. Pilots were able to communicate that they were attempting to land over the ocean once they were aware of the fact that they were in trouble, but were unable to clear the buildings.
Keith Gutkowski who lives in the condo complex discovered the ejection seat in a treetop near the crash scene, while the second ejection seat was found in a backyard.
Neighbours on the scene rushed to help the pilot, who was found in the wreckage, indicating that he ejected late. He reportedly apologized while being transported to hospital for 'crashing into your buiding'.
Joanna Highet was a witness to the scene, who saw a blur and later realized that it was the plane coming low across her line of sight over the tree line. Initially there was no sound of a boom, or an explosion, however moments later there was a low sound, which was the fire spreading throughout the apartment complex. They drove towards the site, at which point there were multiple explosions heard. People were running toward the building, however no emergency people were on the scene yet.
Colby Smith was in his bathroom when he heard three loud popping sounds, looked out to see the billowing smoke. He ran outside, where he saw the pilot lying on the ground with his face covered in blood. He and others rushed to help the pilot, who was lucid and still strapped to the seat. The men lifted him up in the seat as the heat of the fire and the sound of secondary explosions in the condo concerned them, and they felt that he was in peril and so they dragged him away from the flames.
Pictures of the scene show the entire apartment complex is ravaged by fire, an area which appears to cover multi units. The F18 Navy jet took off from Oceana, and appears to have crashed almost immediately after take off, reports CNN.
The US. Navy has just released a statement. In summation:
"We are taking all possible steps at the state level to provide immediate resources and assistance to those impacted by the crash...our fervent prayer is that no one was injured or killed in this accident."
"A F18 Navy jet crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex Friday afternoon. Here are photos sent over Twitter of the scene.
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