Records sought on jet type that killed 4 in crash

Mass Casualties Posted on

A high-ranking congressman called on the Marine Corps on Tuesday to release the maintenance records of all fighter jets of the type that lost power and crashed into a San Diego neighborhood, killing four members of a family.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said the fiery crash Monday of the F/A-18D Hornet fighter as it approached Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was apparently caused by power failure.

"My understanding ... is that the engines failed, causing the aircraft to lose thrust," said Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper.

The crash was probably unrelated to the previous discovery of cracks in hinges on the wings of more than a dozen of the $57 million aircraft, the San Diego-area congressman said.

"It is important that we gain a complete understanding of what went wrong," Hunter said in a statement.

Marine Cpl. Travis Easter said officials at Miramar had no immediate response to the request for maintenance records.

The Navy announced last month that it was grounding 10 of the planes and limiting the flights of 20 others because of the cracks. It was not immediately clear whether the plane that crashed in San Diego was under any flight restrictions.

The pilot ejected safely and was taken to a naval hospital in stable condition. He was discovered hanging by his parachute from a tree in a canyon beneath the neighborhood.

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