Jet in SoCal Crash Had Offer For Earlier Landing

By: Michael R. Blood and Elliot Spagat, Associated Press Email
By: Michael R. Blood and Elliot Spagat, Associated Press Email

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Marine Corps has faulted a pilot and other
Marines in the crash of a crippled warplane in a San Diego
neighborhood that killed four members of a family.

Col. John Rupp, operations officer for the 3rd Marine Aircraft
Wing, said Tuesday that the pilot and Marines directing him from
the ground collectively made bad decisions leading to the Dec. 8
crash.

Air traffic control tapes show the pilot was offered a chance to
land at the Navy's base at Coronado, with an approach over water,
but he chose to go inland to the Marine base at Miramar. The
F/A-18D went down among homes near Miramar.

Marine Corps officials say the pilot shut down one engine
because it lost oil pressure and then the other engine failed
because of a problem in its system for transferring fuel from a
tank to the engine.

Officials say fuel transfer was detected as a potential problem
in July, but the jet made 146 flights after that.

The Corps has disciplined 13 Marines, including relieving the
squadron commander of duty. The pilot's case has not yet been taken
up by Marine headquarters.


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