New video released as Navy investigates cause of jet fighter crash
Incredible new video was released today of what Navy officials are calling a 'catastrophic malfunction' of the fighter jet that crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex Friday.
One clip shows a brief view of one of the pilots still in his ejection seat, on the ground, being tended to by witnesses.
Navy investigators are now on the ground, at the crash site, trying to determine what happened. They have yet to debrief the two pilots. One of the pilots has been released from the hospital.
Many are calling it a miracle that no one was killed from the jet impact or the fire that followed. Authorities say seven people on the ground were injured. Six have been released from the hospital.
New video and witness accounts are emerging, including from residents who found the pilots in their ejection seats.
"The pilot said, 'I'm sorry for destroying your house,' and I just bent down and I touched him and said, 'It's okay, it's really--- are you okay?'" says Tony Smith, a witness.
But how did what the Navy calls a 'catastrophic mechanical failure' occur?
Sources tell ABC News the jet had a fuel leak on takeoff and the pilots shut down one of the two engines and began dumping fuel to lighten the aircraft. Then something went wrong
The Navy says the pilots likely ejected seconds before impact. The fuel dump probably prevented a much larger fire.
"It is a very reliable aircraft," says Navy Rear Admiral Ted Branch.
Navy investigators are on the ground, looking for the in-flight audio recorder, and collecting jet debris
"Start doing the detail examination of what we find, looking at all the tapes, listening to the tapes, we'll get the data recorders from the aircraft," says Admiral John Harvey.
The Navy investigation could take weeks or even months.