SAN DIEGO (AP) - An F-18 military jet approaching a Marine base
crashed near a busy highway in a densely populated San Diego
neighborhood Monday, sparking at least one house fire.
The pilot ejected, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the
pilot or anyone on the ground was injured, officials said.
The plane crashed around noon Monday as it prepared to land at
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, said Ian Gregor, a Federal
Aviation Administration spokesman. The crash occurred two miles
from the base.
Gregor did not know the pilot's condition or how many people
were in the plane before it crashed near Interstate 805.
A high school sits near the crash site. Television news footage
showed what appeared to be the remnants of a smoldering house and
two cars on fire.
Resident Ed Costa said he had just returned from a grocery run
he heard a boom and ran outside.
"When I first heard the noise, I thought it was a gunshot,"
said Costa, 54, who lives about two blocks from the crash site.
"I could see black smoke going up," Costa told The Associated
Press. "Then we heard a secondary blast. Flames were shooting as
high as the light pole."
Costa's 22-year-old son Dean felt the house vibrate, then made
his way close to the crash site and saw two houses on fire and
several cars explode.
"It was just crazy," he said. "There was debris everywhere."
Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue
Department, said he didn't know whether anyone on the ground was
A Miramar spokeswoman said base workers were sent to the crash
"We are still trying to confirm the aircraft even belongs to
us," said Marine Staff Sgt. Bobbie Bryant.
The F-18 is a supersonic jet used widely in the Marine Corps and
Miramar, well known for its role in the movie "Top Gun," is
home to some 10,000 Marines. It was operated by the Navy until
Associated Press writers Michael R. Blood and Alicia Chang in
Los Angeles contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)