Navy Jet Crashes Into an Apartment Building in Virginia

April 6, 2012

1382275_f-22_raptor_on_flight_strip.jpgIn neighboring Virginia, an incident quickly made the headline news: a fighter jet crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex and caused a massive fire. While no one was killed (the two Navy pilots were ejected), there were several injuries and obvious property damage.

The crash took place in the Hampton Roads area, which contains several military bases, including Naval Station Norfolk, considered to be the largest naval base in the world. It is unclear what caused the jet to lose control. One witness claimed that it "just dropped out of the sky." Before that moment, the jet appeared to be on its way to land at the naval station. It was flying low to the ground and appeared to be doing a maneuver, according to another witness. The jet crashed into an apartment complex, tearing the roof off of one apartment building and engulfing it in flames. Four apartment buildings in all showed massive fire-blackened holes, while others remained untouched. Residents of the apartment complex were forced to evacuate.

One possible clue about the cause comes from a similar sort of crash that took place in 2008. Then, a jet of the same model crashed in a neighborhood in San Diego, California, killing four people and destroying two homes. The crash was due to mechanical problems, compounded by poor decisions by the pilot, such as bypassing a potential safety landing at a coastal Navy base after the engine failed.

Once the number of injuries and amount of damage is determined, authorities will try to figure out what happened and who is at fault. If the crash was due to a mechanical failure, then it could be important to examine that particular fleet of jets to see whether anything specific in the design caused a malfunction. If the crash were due to human error, it would be necessary to examine the pilots for traces of drugs or alcohol in their system. Their actions during the moments leading to the crash should be investigated, as well as their history for any signs of poor behavior that could affect their work. Once the details are known, and even before, victims of the crash may try to file lawsuits against the naval base, the pilots, and even the jet manufacturers. The lawsuits would likely claim that the pilots were negligent, and that the jet manufacturer was negligent as well as strictly liable. If the jet were found to be designed soundly and was safe in previous tests, the problem might lie with an ineffective repair job, which means the one to sue might be the mechanic.

We at the Wolfe Law Firm hope that the mystery is solved quickly and that those who were harmed get the compensation they need to move on. Here in West Virginia, we have the Air National Guard, but fortunately we have been spared any collisions between the jets and civilians' homes. Of course you certainly don't need to have a disaster as large as a jet crashing into an apartment building in order to use the services of a West Virginia personal injury attorney. Car crashes, construction accidents, carbon monoxide leaks, and other accidents can also deprive you of your health and your livelihood. Many people who experience an accident are often too overwhelmed by the complexities to deal with them alone. That is why if you get in an accident, even if you are partially at fault, you should find an experienced personal injury attorney right away.