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Three People Dead, One Missing After Jet Crash

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

(Photo, right: Firefighters head to battle a fire after a military jet crashes into a residential neighborhood in University City. Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images )

Three people are confirmed dead after a disabled Miramar-based fighter jet crashed and exploded in flames in a University City-area neighborhood. The pilot safely ejected.  KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

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WEB EXTRA | Photo Slideshow

The F/A-18D Hornet plunged to the ground near Cather Avenue and Huggins Street, about a mile northwest of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

 

The jet crashed shortly before noon into homes near the end of a cul de sac.

 

Paulette Glauser was inside her home, just a few doors away, when the plane crashed. 

 

Glauser: I was upstairs studying. We heard a horrific bang, It's hard to even describe it, it was so loud and so intense. You know a bang like that you don't even relate it to a plane, it's just so impossible. We all went running out of our houses and the flames shot up. It seemed gigantic. It was the biggest fire I've ever seen.

 

Glauser also pointed rescue crews to the pilot's location just below her backyard deck.

 

Glauser: I called them over and they went through my deck and they could, we could see the pilot in the trees maybe 50 feet away.

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Medics took the pilot to Balboa Naval Hospital for an evaluation.

 

The pilot had been on a training flight over the ocean and was heading toward the military base when the accident happened.  

 

The crash and resulting blaze sent a thick column of black smoke into the sky.

 

Military officials said some kind of equipment malfunction forced the pilot to eject but the investigation is continuing.

 

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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