Military Jet Pilot In University City Crash Was Offered Earlier Landing - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

TUESDAY, March 3, 2009

Military Jet Pilot In University City Crash Was Offered Earlier Landing

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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.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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