A Marine F/A-18D based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station near San Diego, Calif., crashed at 11:59 a.m. local time in a residential neighborhood, destroying two homes and killing four on the ground. The pilot and sole occupant ejected successfully. One home was thought to be unoccupied at the time of the crash, the other home contained four people -- a grandmother, a mother and two children. The aircraft encountered a problem during training with the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and was returning to Miramar for landing, according to local news reports. The jet approached Miramar MCAS from the west with a slight tailwind when it crashed nose-down less than 9000 feet shy of the longer Runway 06 Left, and north of the extended runway centerline. Witnesses reported hearing two bangs followed by a larger earth-shaking explosion that many likened to an earthquake. Debris from the crash was resting on the residential street and strewn in neighborhood trees after firefighters quenched flames. The crash site is about 1000 feet east of local high school buildings, 300 feet from school grounds and less than 200 feet from an uninhabited canyon, just beyond the debris field.
See AVweb's initial video coverage, including still images from the crash site edited together with images from Google Earth and Google Maps.