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F-18 military jet crashes in San Diego neighborhood


Trainspotter

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An F-18 military jet crashed in a San Diego neighborhood Monday near a busy highway as it approached a Marine base, 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.

 

Television news footage showed what appeared to be the remnants of a smoldering house and two cars on fire.

 

"We saw two big bangs," resident Scott Patterson told KNX radio. "The smoke came up. We don't know what it was."

 

Neighbor Ben Dishman told MSNBC that the crash shook his house about a block away in the densely populated area and that officials were warning residents to move back. "I knew definitely it was an explosion. ... It was pretty strong," Dishman said.

 

Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, said he didn't know whether anyone was injured.

 

A Miramar spokeswoman said base workers were sent to the crash site.

 

"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 Navy. 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 1996.

 

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Monday, December 8th 2008

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