April 6th, 2012
05:35 PM ET

Navy jet crashes into apartments in Virginia

[Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET] A Navy fighter jet experienced a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" during takeoff Friday over the military community of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and rained a stench of jet fuel shortly before crashing into apartment buildings, according to residents and Navy officials.

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The jet carried a student pilot in the front seat and an experienced instructor behind him, and the dumping of jet fuel was "one of the indications that there was a mechanical malfunction," Navy Capt. Mark Weisgerber told reporters.

The malfunction is being investigated, he said.

The two pilots, a police officer and three other people were taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, Dr. Thomas Thames, the hospital's vice president of medical affairs, told CNN affiliate WAVY.

None of the injuries was considered life-threatening, Thames said.

Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessoms told CNN that nine people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash and explosion ruptured the easy mood of spring break and the unfolding Easter and Passover holiday weekend, and the two-seater F/A-18 jet landed eerily upright in flames in a courtyard surrounded by five apartment buildings suddenly set afire, according to residents and authorities.

The two crew members ejected safely, the Navy said. Resident Pat Kavanaugh told CNN affiliate WTKR that he and others found one of them still strapped to his seat with a lacerated face. Kavanaugh said he was on his couch when he heard a loud boom and was startled to see a parachute hanging from the building.

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soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Stephen

    How about you guy stop making jokes, I actually live less then a mile away from the crash site and its not a joke, someone with the guts to defend your freedom just crashed and your going to sit there and joke?.....

    April 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Myron

      It seems that he is doing more damage to America than defending it, seeing as he drove it into our homeland.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Stephen – some of us have a little more class than others. Please know that there are many of us out here that actually give a crap and are very concerned about what has happened. We are holding you and your community in our thoughts and prayers (meditations). Stay strong! And a BIG thank you to those who give of themselves in service to this country!

      April 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • capnmike

      They haven't defended OUR freedom since World War II...now they defend dirtbag governments in foreign countries, waste trillions of taxpayer dollars, and fly TRAINING missions over residential areas...Get off the buzzwords and face some reality!

      April 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Hugh – thoughts and prayers are all I can afford. The bad economy took all I had and I'm still climbing out of it. If I had cash, I'd send it. Sorry

      April 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michelle

    I can't believe anyone would type flippant, rude, insensitive and mocking remarks about a situation like this. I just saw on the news that both pilots did eject safely. However, the plane hit an apartment building so there will be significant damage and some people are now homeless. What really bothers me is the possibility that there may have been pets in those apartments. It just sickens me. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people whose apartments are now destroyed.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriarchae

      Pets??? I think the possibility that there may have been PEOPLE inside should bother you more, unless it's already been confirmed on the local news or something that nobody was inside.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • James K.

      Really? You can't believe it? You must not use the interweb much.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDREason

      I think Michelle probably assumed that the people were at work, but the pets were at home. I don't think she is being sensitive to pets but not to people.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Myron

      Instead of thoughts and prayers, which is essentially you just really really hoping that it gets better....

      You should donate some money, or go and personally volunteer.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dawg

      pets? you have got to be kidding me...... what about people? whats wrong with you?

      April 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • capnmike

      Note how all these arrogant dirtbags think the life of some innocent animal isn't worth anything...

      April 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Danielel

    I used to live in Birdneck. I hope everyone if fine.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Beach GIrl

    I live here and everyone is at a stand still. We are proud of our military and our sound of freedom however this is our worst nightmare, here in Virginia Beach....You can see the smoke from the jet miles away. This is devastating to us. Also, today is not a school day. All kids are home with their families to prepare for spring break. PLEASE keep the victims and pilots in your thoughts and prayers.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Myron

      Everyone, please disregard sending thoughts and prayers.

      Send money and volunteer. Telepathy does not exist, double blind studies prove this. You cannot mentally tell your god to make it better.... children.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. coastlinecascot

    Yes I hope no kids were at home. It is spring break for alot of schools.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elizabeth

    I feel sorry for everybody who lost their life.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JWD

    Boring? Delivering a pizza? I realize you are trolls, but you are commenting on an article where US service members and potentially civilians were injured or killed. Have some respect is right, d0uches. You aren't funny.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NutGrinder

    Uh story was posted yesterday around 1PM? ... so where's the rest of the story? Crappy News Network.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • DianeL

      couldn't have been posted yesterday, It's happening now.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buy a calendar

      Hey NutGrinder – today is April 6th. The article was posted TODAY (April 6th) just before 1pm.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • anon

      are you stupid.....this story wasn't posted yesterday it was posted TODAY.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      It wasnt posted yesterday...this JUST happened here!!!

      April 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. martin

    jokes? of course you are going to get jokes about any tragedy in the usa; we live in a nation of strangers

    April 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NYGuy

    Ok, call me a jerk all you want, but the fact that they ejected and just allowed their unmanned jet to crash in a populated area seems like the OPPOSITE of service to your country. A true hero would have made sure that the jet crashed over open water, even if it cost him his life.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Spoken like a person who has no idea what catastrophic failure in an aircraft is like. Clearly your understanding of these sorts of situations comes straight out of thriller novels and movies.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What if they had no control or that was the only option you idiot.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      It does come across as a bit insensitive, but I agree with you. My first thought when I read this was that I hope everybody is ok, but my second thought was that these pilots should not have bailed out knowing that their plane was headed toward a residential area.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • capnmike

      Ya got THAT right!

      April 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • panzerman13

      Ok, you are a jerk. How many "heroic " things have you done lately?

      April 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      Things can happen way too quickly to "be sure" you can get to open water. They were dumping fuel, at least, and possible WERE trying to get to open water....they did what they had to do and we here in Va Bch do not think they are cowardly for ejecting.

      April 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Haha

    Prayers that there are no fatalities.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Julie Manthey

    While it's the middle of the day and some people may be working, kids are on spring break so many families may indeed be home

    April 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ltl12

    Both Pilots are okay, both ejected and are on there way to the hospital

    April 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mac

    why isnt cnn posting my comments? corrupt much??

    April 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      They hate you.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jpayne85

      because you're a damn troll trying to get a rise outta people. guess what, you succeeded with me.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Vanessa

    I pray no one was hurt or injured!! The pizza joke is ridiculous!!! Really!!!

    April 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
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