No bodies found after US Navy jet crash

2012-04-07 21:39
Washington - All civilians initially listed as missing after a US Navy fighter jet crashed into a Virginia apartment complex have been accounted for, officials said on Saturday, though no all-clear has been given.

Virginia Beach Fire Department Captain Tim Riley told CNN that no bodies were found in the destroyed low-rise buildings and rescuers had suspended their search for victims from the ensuing inferno.

Fire-fighters had been combing through debris to look for three people listed earlier as missing but rescue crews used a checklist of occupants and accounted for all residents of five flattened buildings, Riley said.

The possibility of unaccounted for fatalities remains, however, as unlisted guests may have been staying in the apartment complex, he added.

The two crew members ejected safely from the F/A-18 Hornet that hit a populated area in the east coast tourist resort of Virginia Beach.

Jet fuel

US Navy Captain Mark Weisgerber blamed a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" for the crash.

The specifics of the mishap were still unknown, Weisgerber said, adding 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.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said he was hoping to confirm a "Good Friday miracle", with no loss of life, but no such official announcement has yet been made.

The city's mayor William Sessoms, who praised local volunteers who helped in the aftermath of the accident, said nine people had sustained non-life threatening injuries, including the pilots.

"It's going to take weeks," of "painstaking" work by the navy to piece together what caused the crash, US Fleet Forces Command chief Admiral John Harvey said, adding that the flight data recorder has not yet been recovered.

"The fact that we do have the air crew, that's a critical part," he said.

"I'm very confident that we'll get a good breakdown of what happened. We will not rush to judgment."

Witnesses said the plane came down suddenly and the spilling of jet fuel probably exacerbated the flames. It was not yet clear whether the pilots had intentionally dumped the fuel before the plane crashed.

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 10km 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.
Read more on:    us  |  air travel

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.