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zaterdag, april 07, 2012

U.S. Navy jet hits apartments in Virginia

At least one building was damaged in the crash, CNN affiliates reported.
At least one building was damaged in the crash, CNN affiliates reported.
  • NEW: A pilot and a person on the ground were injured, a hospital spokeswoman says
  • NEW: The plane crashes into a building where senior citizens live, a witness says
  • Plane engine was straining and the jet was emptying fuel, witness says

(CNN) -- A Navy jet crashed Friday into some apartments near Virginia Beach, Virginia, sending flames and thick black smoke into the air, a military spokesman and a witness said.

At least two people were hurt, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The pilot and a person who was on the ground were being treated for injuries, but the nature and extent of those injuries were not immediately clear, the spokeswoman said.

Volunteer rescue squad member Pat Kavanaugh said he and others found one of the two plane crew members who ejected.

"He was in shock and still strapped to his seat," Kavanaugh told CNN affiliate WTKR.

The jet hit the Mayfair Mews Apartment complex in Virginia Beach, according to U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell's office, whose district includes Virginia Beach.

The jet was from a training squadron at the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, the Navy and Federal Aviation Administration said.

The crew of the two-seater F/A-18 ejected, but their condition wasn't known, a Navy spokesman said.

George Pilkington, a witness, said he saw the plane flying low, with its nose up and tail down, ejecting fuel -- which struck him as unusual. The engine was straining, he said.

"It came over the top of my truck emptying fuel," Pilkington said.

"That it didn't cause more damage to the apartment buildings was a blessing," he said.

The plane crashed in an area of apartment complexes and homes a half-mile from the waterfront, Pilkington said.

Black smoke and flames rose from the crash site.

At least one building was damaged, according to video footage from CNN affiliate WTKR. A charred section of the jet wreckage was on the ground nearby.

Fire trucks, ambulances and police cars filled the area as smoke drifted overhead.

Another witness, Zack Zapatero, said the plane crashed into a building occupied by senior citizens. He took photos of the scene.

"There's these large fire balls coming up," Zapatero said. "I was told there was a bunch of senior citizens that live in that building, which worries me a lot.

"Buildings were starting to collapse," he said of the wreckage scene.

"Through the smoke, you could see the end of the plane sitting in the courtyard," Zapatero said.

CNN's Mike Ahlers contributed to this report.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/06/us/virginia-plane-crash/index.html?eref=edition

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