U.S. News

Two killed in San Diego military jet crash

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SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A military jet crashed into a California neighborhood near San Diego on Monday after the pilot ejected, killing two people on the ground and destroying two homes, officials said.

“We only have two confirmed deaths at this point,” San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said at a news conference.

He said the victims might have been in a home where there were reports that a mother, grandmother and two children were present at the time of the crash.

Television images showed smoke billowing from the crash site of an F/A-18D fighter in a tightly packed suburban neighborhood near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The fighter crashed two miles from an airfield, as the pilot safely ejected, said Lt. Katheryn Putnam, a spokeswoman for the air station. The pilot had just taken off from an aircraft carrier offshore in the Pacific as part of a training exercise.

The pilot, who landed on a high school field, was hospitalized as a precaution, Putnam said. Witnesses told local radio the pilot might have been heading the plane to crash in a big canyon nearby in order to avoid the school.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Bill Trott