9 Dec 2008

Three killed after US fighter jet crashes into houses

3:58 pm on 9 December 2008

A United States fighter jet has crashed in a California residential neighbourhood near San Diego, killing three people.

Fire fighters say those who died were inside a house in which a grandmother, mother and two children were believed to be.

Witnesses said they heard explosions and some thought it was an earthquake.

The crash and subsequent fire destroyed two homes and damaged a third. A piece of cockpit could be seen on the roof of one house.

The pilot of the F-18 fighter jet had just taken off from an aircraft carrier offshore in the Pacific as part of a training exercise and was preparing to land at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

He ejected to safety.

Residents from the area say they had been worried about jets from the nearby base flying close to homes.

Military officials have not given details of the possible cause of the crash.