The burning carcasses of apartment buildings and the white foam and scattered wreckage that littered Virginia Beach Friday were the result of a fighter jet's crash landing after the jet's engine began to malfunction.
"Catastrophic engine system failure right after takeoff, which is always the most critical phase of flying, leaves very, very few options," J.F. Joseph, an aviation safety expert, commented to CBS.
Nobody was hurt in the incident, and the pilots in the jet, a student and instructor, successfully ejected themselves before the crash.
MLive, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, news outlet, reported that Jewels Martin and her family witnessed the F-18 go down while vacationing in Virginia. "'It was kind of scary. We wondered, "Is something going on that we don't know about, a Twin Towers kind of thing? Why did that plane crash?"'" Martin is reported as commenting.
Video footage taken by the Martins showed black smoke billowing up in clouds from behind a row of houses and cars slowing on the streets in the foreground.