UPDATE: Virginia Beach Residents Still Missing After Navy Jet Crash

By: April Davis
By: April Davis

As of late Friday night, three people from one of five apartment buildings heavily damaged in the crash were unaccounted for, down from 30, Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley said.

No one has been reported missing to authorities, but rescue crews are using a checklist of all occupants in the five buildings in an effort to account for all residents, Riley said.

Rescue crews did an initial search of the five buildings, and as of Friday night, completed 95% of a secondary search, Riley said.

"If there is anybody there, chances of survivability would be low," Riley told reporters, referring to any survivors in the five buildings.

No deaths were reported as of Friday night, Riley said.

The crash and explosion ruptured the easy mood of spring break and the unfolding Easter and Passover holidays, and the two-seater F/A-18 jet landed eerily upright in flames in a courtyard surrounded by the five apartment buildings that were suddenly set afire, according to residents and authorities.

Officials say they still have not accounted for all the residents who live in an apartment complex where a fighter jet crashed, leveling several buildings.

Capt. Mark Weisgerber is with Fleet Forces Command. He said Friday that a student and instructor were on board the jet when it crashed in Virginia. Both men are expected to survive.

Some 40 apartment units were damaged or destroyed by the crash in Virginia Beach. Seven people, including the two pilots, were treated at hospitals and were expected to survive.

Weisgerber also says that while the jet dumped loads of fuel, avoiding what could have been a large explosion, it's not clear if that fuel dump was intentional. It's possible the fuel was dumped because of a malfunction on the plane.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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A Navy jet has crashed into a Virginia Beach neighborhood, and several apartment buildings were heavily damaged.

The F/A-18 Hornet crashed just after noon.

There was extensive damage to multiple buildings at the apartment complex.

Virginia Beach Fire Battalion Chief Tim Riley says there are seven confirmed injuries, including the two on board the jet.

Riley says they have gone through two of the five buildings at the apartment complex and are reporting no fatalities.

A Navy official told NBC News that both pilots had been taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. "They were ambulatory," the official told NBC.

Cmdr. Phil Rosi of the Navy said the two-seat jet fighter crashed about 12:05 p.m. shortly after takeoff. He said both crew members ejected from the aircraft.

The buildings were in the Mayfair Mews Apartments, about four miles northeast of the Naval Air Base Oceana, where the jets had taken off.

Witness accounts of the jet dumping fuel before the crash suggest that the pilots averted a worse disaster, Bruce Nedelka, the Virginia Beach EMS division chief told The Associated Press.

"By doing so, he mitigated what could have been an absolute massive, massive fireball and fire," Nedelka said. "With all of that jet fuel dumped, it was much less than what it could have been," he said.

Witnesses described a frightening scene as they saw the aircraft plummet toward the ground.

John Swain told MSNBC he was driving, coming off Interstate 264 to head north.

"The plane came right over us and was clearly in difficulty," he said. “There was flames coming off the back … The plane got lower and lower and just as I turned … it crashed."

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