You may have heard about our jet crash at 12:15 today, I know it's national news now. We are ok. Terrified for sure for a few moments, but ok. It was close, but not close enough to affect us. A little less than half a mile from our house, it's a fear we push to the back of our minds because if we didn't we could never live here. The really sad news is that the jet went down into the middle of an apartment complex. The area is so built up there I have the feeling the news will be terrible. We happened to be on the road near the site on our way home when it happened, the ground shook like an earthquake and then explosions and dark smoke from the jet fuel. I have lived here long enough to see this happen 3 times now, but the other two were ditched in an unpopulated area right near the airfield (even closer actually with fuselage on our street!), this one is horrifying because of where it went down. Of course my phone was almost dead in the car and from where we were stuck in traffic it looked like the smoke was coming straight from the apt complex where a friend of mine lives, and I knew she would be home with her baby. I texted her and prayed like I never have before I think and within a few minutes she called me - it was the complex right across the street from her, only about 50 yards or so but she was safe!!! That's when I went from sheer panic to crying, which probably spooked the boys in the back seat who didn't realize that I was worried about anyone other than the pilots - ah, to be that young and have your parents do all your worrying for you!
Here's some photos:
that's the tail end of the F-18, it did not land in the parking lot as you might gather from the photo, there was an apartment block under it that completely disintegrated, and the front half of the jet is also disintegrated
This is what we were greeted with as we made our way to our exit...
plumes of smoke this color over our house area is never a good thing to see, since it indicates JP-5 (jet fuel) and we are right in crash zone 1, there was about an hour of tense gridlock while the freeways were shut down
an aerial photo of the complex shows how bad it was, looks actually like several buildings now that the flames have been put out
you can see how populated this area is in these photo:
The pilots are from hubby's old squadron, he wouldn't tell me over the phone who it was but I can say VFA-106 now since it's already all over the news. This is a training squadron, where pilots come to learn the F/A-18 after they have already completed flight school and have earned their wings. This squadron is where they go to learn how to actually land and take off on aircraft carriers. No word on the whys or hows of the accident, although it does appear from their angle that they tried a last second effort to avoid the populated area, something that is foremost in every pilot's mind. As of right now we are hearing that both pilots ejected, both have been recovered but we don't know anymore about where they are or their condition. Right now everyone is focused on anyone in those apartments, and prayers are needed! Authorities are just now being able to go door to door in the apartment area since the flames were too much earlier. I'm worried about hubby when he gets home tonight, if he comes home... I have a feeling this will be a long day for him. As a jet mechanic and a supervisor, he will be lost in his own head today I think, even though he had no hands on this particular aircraft, you can imagine how that might be if that was your profession. Well, I'm off to listen to more news and try and find out if hubby will be home for dinner or not. It's eerily quiet out there now without the constant scream of jets, air operations have obviously been shut down for the day, all we hear and see is the helicopters now. What an emotionally exhausting day so far...