A Navy fighter jet experienced a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" during takeoff Friday over the military community of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and rained a stench of jet fuel shortly before crashing into apartment buildings, according to residents and Navy officials.
The jet carried a student pilot in the front seat and an experienced instructor behind him, and the dumping of jet fuel was "one of the indications that there was a mechanical malfunction," Navy Capt. Mark Weisgerber told reporters.
The malfunction is being investigated, he said.
The two pilots, a police officer and three other people were treated and released at a hospital, except for one of the pilots, who was admitted, according to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.
Both pilots, who live in Virginia Beach, are "doing well and they suffered minor injuries," Weisgerber said.
Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessoms told CNN that nine people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The crash and explosion ruptured the easy mood of spring break and the unfolding Easter and Passover holiday weekend, and the two-seater F/A-18 jet landed eerily upright in flames in a courtyard surrounded by five apartment buildings suddenly set afire, according to residents and authorities.
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