‘He's Going to Take This to His Grave'

There is an empty space that fills the corner where an F/A-18 Hornet crashed into a University City neighborhood. 

"Just incredible, never expected anything like this to happen here," Helen Beran said.  Her home was nearly struck when the plane fell from the sky, only missing it by a few yards.  "If this house was a two story house, it would have hit," she said.

Like so many residents in the quiet middle class neighborhood, there has been an empty space in their quest to find out why the jet crashed in a populated neighborhood.  For nearly three months after the deadly crash military investigators, who released the investigation details, have filled that empty space. 

The military admitted the pilot and several support ground crew made mistakes that could have prevented the plane from crashing into two homes. 

According to MCAS Miramar officials, the biggest mistake was to fly the crippled plane over populated areas instead of making an emergency landing at NAS North Island. 

"It may sound weird but I'm sort of glad these were mistakes, that this wasn't a routine thing," Helen said.  "It was a crisis scenario and people make mistakes and these happen to be very bad mistakes." 

Other neighbors are also relieved that military officials were forthcoming and honest about the investigation and the errors that the pilot and his supervisors made on December 8, 2008.  Many of the people involved have been seriously reprimanded and relieved of duty.  But some residents still have questions. 

"That's nice you're disciplining people but what are you going to do about it tomorrow, to prevent it next time," said neighbor JD Mumma. 

The only person who hasn't been disciplined is the pilot.  Helen believes he is already punishing himself. 

"I'm sure he's going to take this to his grave," she said. 

We tried to contact the pilot and his family, but the calls were not returned.


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