Military Jet Crashes in San Diego Neighborhood

December 08, 2008 04:37 PM
by Anne Szustek
An F-18 supersonic jet smashed into the University City neighborhood in San Diego just before noon PST Monday. Four residents were killed.
An F-18 jet, a model commonly used by the Navy and the Marine Corps, crashed as it was preparing to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, near San Diego, according to information provided to the Associated Press by Federal Aviation Authority spokesperson Ian Gregor.

The plane crashed in San Diego’s University City neighborhood, some two miles from the base. Four people died when the Miramar-bound plane plowed into their home: a mother, her two baby daughters and the child’s grandmother.

In total, two homes were charred and three others damaged in the crash.

Shelby Lovitt, a senior at University City High School, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that she saw the plane go down following what sounded like a loud boom. She also reported seeing someone eject from the plane—an account corroborated by Gregor, who said it was the pilot who ejected.

The pilot safely ejected into a canyon nearby just before the crash. He was taken to San Diego Naval Medical Center, where he was pronounced in good condition Monday night.

University City High School was put on lockdown until 2:15 p.m. PST, when students were excused as scheduled.

Thick smoke blanketed the area near the crash site and authorities evacuated some 20 homes over air quality concerns.

Miramar is a large Marine Corps base housing some 10,000 service members. The site, known to some by way of the 1986 movie “Top Gun,” was under Navy operation until 1996.

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