Crews continue to search through the rubble after an F/A-18D jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach Friday afternoon.
Firefighters at the complex have not been to get in touch with 3 residents, however there are no reports of missing people provided by the city. Tim Riley with Virginia Beach Fire Department says the names, ages and gender of those unaccounted for will not be released and no one has reported them missing.
Seven people were hurt in the accident, including the 2 pilots. Six of the 7 injured were treated and released Friday.
The crash happened just after noon when the aircraft suffered “catastrophic mechanical malfunction” shortly after takeoff, according to Captain Mark Weisgerber, Deputy Commander for the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. Both pilots were forced to eject from the jet, which then crashed into the Mayfair Mews Apartments off of Fleming Drive.
Weisgerber said the pilot in the front seat was a student, while the back seat was occupied by an experienced instructor.
Virginia Beach Police responded to the scene and went door-to-door at the apartment complex to see if any residents were in their homes, Grazie Moyers with VBPD said.
As soon as first responders arrived on scene, Virginia State Police closed Interstate 264 in both directions, causing quite a traffic backup. Traffic cameras from the Virginia Department of Transportation showed thick, black smoke billowing up from the crash site.
The American Red Cross is offering assistance to those affected by the crash , and two shelters have been opened. The City of Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center is also taking in family pets.
Shortly after the crash, officials throughout Hampton Roads and the state of Virginia began expressing their gratitude toward the first responders on scene , including Governor Bob McDonnell and Congressman Scott Rigell.
“Our prayers are with our entire Hampton Roads and military communities right now as our first responders are admirably addressing the situation on the ground,” Rigell said.
Virginia Beach Fire officials said there were no fatalities reported, and crews were still searching through the homes that were damaged in the crash and subsequent fire, which was under control in about an hour.
In total, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital said none of the injuries were reported to be serious.
As for the three missing residents, Riley says an around-the-clock operation has begun of reaching the bottom layer of the collapsed buildings. Riley says the apartment complex has provided a list of residents, and 3 of those have not been reached. However, no one has reported the residents has missing, and Riley says those people may be out of town for the holiday weekend.
Crews in Virginia Beach will continue to search throughout the night for anyone who might be missing. Family members are encouraged to call 757-385-3111.