Friday, December 12, 2008
Residents turned out in the San Diego neighborhood of University City last night to get answers and vent frustrations about this week’s military jet crash that killed four people. There was a wide range of emotions at the community meeting. KPBS reporter Katie Orr has more.
On Monday the community of University City was devastated when an F-A 18 D Hornet crashed into a home in the neighborhood’s east end, killing four people. One of the jet’s engines quit over the Pacific Ocean and the other gave out as the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar. Many in the crowd expressed respect for the Marine base, but questioned the decision to route the doomed fighter jet over a populated neighborhood. University City resident David Skillin says he had hoped the Marines would have stopped their training flights for a day after the crash.
Skillin: And just a show of a one day stand down of flight operations in respect for this community, so you may then review your safety procedures, so that this type of thing can be mitigated going forward, I think would be appreciated by the community.
Many residents used the meeting to thank police and fire officials. There were also angry words directed towards Colonel Christopher O’Conner, the Commanding Officer at Miramar. He spoke at the meeting and stressed the military’s desire to help those affected.
O’Conner: We’re trying to be out there and do what’s right. Again, for us it’s a tragedy as well, and we’re so sorry it happened. But we’re still are going to be the best neighbors possible. But we don’t overfly your area much at all.
O’Conner says military jets don’t typically fly over University City unless weather conditions or emergency situations call for it. He says military crews are still investigating the crash.
Katie Orr, KPBS News