No Serious Injuries In F/A-18 Crash
Authorities are now sure there were no deaths or serious injuries resulting from the crash of a Navy F/A-18 in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday. All residents of the apartment complex struck by the flaming jet have been accounted for and only seven minor injuries, many of them to rescue workers and bystanders after the crash, occurred. Among those injured were the two crew members who ejected at low altitude as the aircraft crashed, igniting a two-alarm fire. Five buildings of eight apartments each were damaged by the post-crash fire. Neighbors at the complex told news crews the jet came down in a nose-up attitude. The flight carried an experienced instructor pilot in the rear cockpit and a student up front. The pilots came down under canopy near the wreckage and were taken to a nearby hospital.
According to Navy Capt. Mark Weisgerber, the aircraft suffered a malfunction soon after takeoff from nearby NAS Oceana. The crew suffered minor injuries and both were "coherent and doing well." Neighbors helped move one aviator who was found near the crash site. Witness Pat Kavanaugh, a retired rescue squad member, told a local news reporter that the pilot he helped move had facial lacerations and was in shock. Kavanaugh said the pilot apologized for crashing into the complex as he was moved away from the fire. The fighter jet was reportedly based at Oceana and assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106.