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F-18 jet crashes into apartments in Virginia next to elementary school (PHOTOS, VIDEO)


Both pilots safely ejected from the plane that moments later crashed into a residential area in Virginia Beach.

Only nine people have been reported injured in the incident. US Navy Captain Mark Weisgerber blamed a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" for the crash.

Commander Rosi from the US Navy said the aircrew of the plane, which belonged to the VFA-106 strike fighter squadron based in Oceana, have been taken to a nearby hospital. They, as well as five other people admitted to local hospitals are not in life-threatening condition.

Witnesses said two apartment buildings near the crash site were on fire, and rescue workers searched for potential casualties. Military police was also on site. Interstate 264 has been closed down. Thick black smoke could be seen rising from the scene.

Officials say three people remain unaccounted for as rescue workers searched the damaged apartment complex.

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