Two pilots safely ejected themselves from a Navy jet before it crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment building this afternoon. Rescue teams are on the scene, but the fates of any civilians in the area are not yet known. CBS has live video of the aftermath, while various photos from people nearby are turning up on social networks. One video taken moments after the crash shows raging flames and stunned bystanders.
The Associated Press reports that the pilots are being treated for injuries that are not life threatening. More updates as they come.
Update, 1:45 p.m.: Here’s the video linked above.
Update, 2:04 p.m.: The U.S. Navy has issued an official news release:
An F/A-18D assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 crashed in Virginia Beach, Va. April 6.
Initial reports indicate that at approximately 12:05 p.m., the jet crashed just after takeoff at a location just off of the base.
Both aircrew safely ejected from the aircraft.
VFA-106 is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, and serves as the East Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron. Their mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 Replacement Pilots and Weapon Systems Officers (WSOs) to support fleet commitments.
The Navy is coordinating with local authorities.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
Update, 2:14 p.m.: A local NBC reporter says five civilians are being treated at the hospital for injuries.
Update, 3:45 p.m.: The AP puts the number of people taken to the hospital at six, including both pilots. According to the report, three buildings were destroyed and two more damaged, but the plane dumped fuel before it went down, or it would have been worse. “By doing so, he mitigated what could have been an absolute massive, massive fireball and fire,” said an EMS chief. “With all of that jet fuel dumped, it was much less than what it could have been.”