Search resumes for child missing after F/A-18 crash in San Diego
Rescuers resumed their search Tuesday through the tangled rubble of a San Diego home and the F/A-18 fighter jet that crashed into it Monday, searching for a toddler missing since the accident, dpa reported.
The toddler's sibling, mother and grandmother were killed when the fighter jet appeared to lose all power as it attempted an emergency landing at the nearby Miramar Naval Air Station, after taking off on a routine training exercise from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The father was at work when the accident occurred.
The pilot managed to eject seconds before impact and landed safely in a tree. Described by witnesses as a young lieutenant in his 20s, he was trying to steer the jet into a nearby canyon when he plummeted into the tree-lined neighbourhood of single-family homes about 3 kilometres north-west of the airfield, reports said.
Three houses and four vehicles were destroyed by the impact, which sparked a huge fireball and covered the area in a pall of thick, acrid smoke. The plane was not carrying any munitions but searchers were trying to locate a second ejector seat, which contained an explosives charge.
The plane had lost power from one engine soon after take off while the remaining engine appears to have cut out as the aircraft approached the airfield, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Navy and Marine Corps fly the F/A-18, which is the main aircraft for the Navy's Blue Angels air show squadron. Miramar, about 16 kilometres north of downtown San Diego, was featured in the 1986 hit film Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise.
The Navy inspected hundreds of the Boeing-built aircraft after discovering "fatigue cracks" on more than a dozen F/A-18s, grounding a dozen planes and placing flight restrictions on more than 20 planes in November until repairs could be made, according to the Navy Times.