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All Safe after US Fighter Jet Crashes into Apartments


Smoke billows near an apartment complex where a Navy jet crashed in Virginia Beach, Virginia, March 6, 2012.

Smoke billows near an apartment complex where a Navy jet crashed in Virginia Beach, Virginia, March 6, 2012.

U.S. rescue officials say all residents have been accounted for at an apartment complex in the eastern state of Virginia, where a U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed on Friday, injuring seven people, including both pilots.

Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley made the announcement on Saturday, after crews searched into the night for three people listed as missing. But Riley added that there is the possibility of unaccounted for fatalities because authorities do not know whether any guests had been staying at the complex.

No fatalities have been reported from the crash, and officials say all seven known victims have been released from the hospital.

Navy Admiral John Harvey, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, said Saturday that he was surprised the crash had not killed anyone, calling it an "amazing miracle."

One of the crew members was reportedly a student pilot, while the other was an instructor. Both pilots ejected from the plane before it crashed into the complex, damaging some 50 apartments. Witnesses say they saw fuel spilling from the jet before it went down.

A Navy official said the aircraft had suffered a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction." Officials say the investigation could take weeks.

The two-seat F/A-18 Hornet was based at a nearby U.S. Naval air station in Virginia Beach. The area has a large concentration of military bases.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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