Marines Say ‘Sorry'

The U.S. Marine Corps sent a letter of condolences to the residents of University City Wednesday, pegging the cause of the December crash that killed four people to mechanical problems "compounded by human error."

In recordings released Tuesday, San Diegans got to hear what was said between Lt. Dan Neubauer, the jet's pilot, and ground control as the jet approached Marine Corps Air Station Miramar December 8. Read article

Lt. Neubauer pilot was given two chances to land at Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado. Instead, the Federal Aviation Administration tapes disclose the pilot decided to fly the jet, which had lost one engine and was having signs of trouble with the second engine, to MCAS Miramar, which is about 10 miles north of Coronado.

"The pilot pulled up his fuel-tank display in the cockpit, realized something wasn't right but did not correctly analyze the situation," said Col. John Rupp, the operations officer for the 3rd Marine Air Wing. "If the pilot had elected to land at North Island, this mishap would've been prevented."

Two homes were destroyed and three others damaged in the crash. Four members of a Korean family were killed in their home -- Young Mi Yoon, 36; her daughters Grace, 15 months, and Rachel, 2 months; and her mother, Suk Im Kim, 60. Kim was visiting from South Korea to help her daughter move across town and adjust to the arrival of her second child.  Read article 

Neubauer ejected safely.

In the letter to residents, Major General Michael Lehnert writes, "The Marine Corps regrets this sad and unfortunate accident." The letter mentions the military is working with the County Department of Environmental Health on testing the accident site for hydrocarbon levels to get them into the normal range. Read entire letter

As for providing financial help to those families who lost loved ones or their homes, MajGen Lehnert wrote "We remain committed to serving the needs of the community during this difficult period by providing immediate financial assistance to those families in greatest need; arranging counseling to those needing assistance; and helping families submit their claims to the U.S. Government."

One woman, whose home was destroyed in the crash, said she’s received just $2200 in financial support from the military since the accident happened December 8. 

Thirteen Marines were disciplined for errors that led to the crash, including four officers at MCAS Miramar who have been relieved of duty. The Marine Corps has not decided whether to discipline Neubauer, who has been grounded while his flight status is being reviewed.

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