Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

Americas

Fighter jet crashes into Virginia apartment buildings

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-07

A US Navy fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach in the US state of Virginia Friday soon after takeoff, damaging six buildings and injuring at least nine people.

AFP - Firefighters combed through the debris of a Virginia apartment complex Saturday after a US Navy F-18 fighter jet crashed into it, triggering a massive inferno but injuring only nine people.

Virginia Beach Fire Department Captain Tim Riley told NBC News that no bodies were found in the destroyed buildings and rescuers have suspended their searches at the scene. Three people are still unaccounted for, he said.

Part of the jet's wreckage lay on the grass behind some buildings after emergency teams doused the area with foam to tamp down the blaze.

The two crew members ejected safely from the jet which hit a populated area in the east coast tourist resort of Virginia Beach, officials said.

US Navy Captain Mark Weisgerber blamed a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" for the crash. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell told CNN officials were hoping to confirm a "Good Friday miracle," with no loss of life.

The specifics of the mishap were still unknown, Weisgerber said, but added that it resulted in the "forced ejection" of the crew -- a local student pilot in the front seat and an experienced instructor in the back.

The city's mayor William Sessoms told CNN that nine people had been injured including the pilots.

Sentara Healthcare said all but one of the seven people taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries had been released. Only one of the pilots remained at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

"The crew is doing well. They suffered some minor injuries and the latest report is that they're up and about and both coherent and doing well," Weisgerber told reporters.

McDonnell hailed the pilots, saying their last-minute ejection and the quick response from emergency workers on the ground had likely "saved a lot of lives."

Witnesses said the plane came down suddenly and that the spilling of jet fuel may have exacerbated the flames.

"The buildings were starting to collapse," Zack Zapatero told CNN.

"I did not see anyone running out and I was told that there's a bunch of senior citizens that live in those buildings which worries me a lot.

"It was just unbelievable. Law enforcement was really quick to get on the scene. But the amount of jet fuel that you could just smell on the ground, it didn't seem right," he said.

Another witness, Jon Swain, described how the plane smashed into the apartment block.

"There were flames coming out of its engine at the back, which I just thought was afterburn or whatever... but the plane got lower and lower. I saw one pilot eject," he told MSNBC.

"It hit it dead center. And yeah, it's pretty traumatic. There were a few people running from the building."

Another witness, Joanna Highet, also said the plane was very low and had disappeared out of her line of sight behind some trees.

"Initially we heard nothing, and then when the smoke started after about 15, 20, 30 seconds we heard an explosion," she told CNN.

"We drove back and saw lots of black smoke and the apartment complex on fire from both ends."

The F-18 jet was assigned to Naval Air Station Oceana. The crash took place in an area known as Hampton Roads that is home to many US military facilities, including the world's largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk.

Oceana, which is a vast complex with more than seven miles (10 kilometers) of runways, is manned by 14,600 military personnel and home to 19 fighter squadrons.

It will shut down for the remainder of the weekend and will resume flight operations on Monday, Naval Air Force Atlantic announced.

The Navy said in a statement that it was "continuing to coordinate with local authorities, and the cause of the accident is under investigation."
 

Date created : 2012-04-07

  • RUSSIA

    Survivors pulled from deadly plane crash in Siberia

    Read more

  • NEPAL

    Tourist plane crashes near Mount Everest, killing 19

    Read more

  • LITHUANIA

    French and Lithuanian jets collide

    Read more

COMMENT(S)