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Marine Corps Says Jet Crash Was Avoidable

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Aired 4/20/09

An investigation into the December crash of a F-18 military jet shows the accident was avoidable. The Marine Corp says a series of bad decisions, a lack of communication and a failure to follow procedures all contributed to the crash that killed four people on the ground. KPBS reporter Katie Orr has details.

The Marine Corps investigation shows the right engine of the F-18 jet experienced an oil pressure problem as it was doing drills from off the coast. The pilot was told to shut the engine down and land at Navel Station North Island. A few moments later the left engine began having problems.

Colonel John Rupp says the pilot wasn't aware of the severity of the jet's problems and elected to fly to Marine Corp Air Station Miramar instead.

"Despite everything that has occurred to this point, if the pilot had elected to land at North Island, this mishap would have bee prevented," he says.

Rupp says throughout the ordeal no one involved realized the urgency of the situation and numerous emergency procedures were disregarded. The pilot remains grounded, four officers were removed from duty and nine others have been disciplined.

Katie Orr, KPBS News

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