SAN DIEGO, CA - A military jet crashed in a University City-area neighborhood Monday after the pilot ejected from the aircraft, causing an intense fire that engulfed several homes.
The F/A-18 Hornet was heading to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar shortly before noon when it plunged to the ground near Cather Avenue and Huggins Street, about a mile west of the military base, according to police and the Federal Aviation Administration. The jet was reportedly flying from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln when one of the two engines went out on the aircraft. The pilot was attempting to land at Miramar when the crash happened.
The pilot ejected and parachuted onto a baseball field at University City High School, a dispatcher said. Medics took him to Balboa Naval Hospital for an evaluation. No one else was aboard the jet, according to military officials.
Nearby University City High School was placed on lockdown as a precaution to protect students and staff from smoke and fumes. The smoke plume from the crash could be seen over a wide area of San Diego County.
There have been no immediate reports of casualties on the ground, though the crash destroyed one home and extensively damaged others, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
It took firefighters about a half-hour to get the blaze under control.
Several witnesses reported hearing unusual loud sounds from the direction of the jet just before it went down.
Police shut down several streets in the area as crews doused the blaze and investigators began cataloguing evidence at the crash scene. Traffic in the area is congested.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the plane crashed shortly before noon today as it prepared to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The crash occurred just west of the base. Gregor says the pilot ejected.
The jet crashed into a residential area of University City near Cather Avenue and Huggins Street shortly before noon.
Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, says he didn't know if anyone has been injured.
The F-18 is a supersonic jet used widely in the Marine Corps and Navy.
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