VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The Navy continues to investigate what caused the mechanical malfunction that sent an F/A-18D jet crashing into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach.
The crash happened just after noon on April 6 when the Naval Air Station Oceana based aircraft suffered "catastrophic mechanical malfunction " shortly after takeoff, according to Captain Mark Weisgerber, Deputy Commander for the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. Both pilots were forced to eject from the jet, which then crashed into the Mayfair Mews Apartments off of Fleming Drive.
Weisgerber said the pilot in the front seat was a student, while the back seat was occupied by an experienced instructor.
Virginia Beach Police responded to the scene and went door to door at the apartment complex to see if any residents were in their homes, Grazia Moyers with VBPD told WAVY.com.
As soon as first responders arrived on scene, Virginia State Police closed Interstate 264 in both directions, causing quite a traffic backup. Traffic cameras from the Virginia Department of Transportation showed thick, black smoke billowing up from the crash site.
All lanes of the interstate were back open at 3 p.m. that day.
The American Red Cross offered assistance to those affected by the crash , when two shelters opened at Birdneck Elementary School and Community Chapel in Virginia Beach. The City of Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center also took in family pets.
Shortly after the crash, officials throughout Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth of Virginia began expressing their gratitude toward the first responders on scene , including Governor Bob McDonnell and Congressman Scott Rigell.
"Our prayers are with our entire Hampton Roads and military communities right now as our first responders are admirably addressing the situation on the ground," Rigell said.
Virginia Beach Fire officials said there were no fatalities reported, and crews were still searching through the homes that were damaged in the crash and subsequent fire, which was under control in about an hour.
In total, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital said seven people were hurt in the accident, including the two pilots. Six of the seven injured were treated and released and none of the injuries were reported to be serious.
Chopper 10 was able to capture an exclusive look at just how close Naval Air Station Oceana was to the apartment complex, while aerial images painted a picture of how things looked in the area before and after the crash.
An emotional Pat Kavanaugh told WAVY.com about the aftermath of the crash and how he helped pull the pilot to safety.
"I heard three loud bangs," Kavanaugh said. "Saw a pilot laying on the ground, his parachute still connected to the building, and I ran over and I did a body survey, to see about his injuries. He had some blood coming out of his nose, I made sure he didn't have any broken bones. He apologized for crashing into our apartment complex and I chuckled and I told him ‘Don't worry about it, we're alive and we're going to get you out of here as fast as we can.'"
Hampton Police want to prevent crime and have remixed a holiday classic to deter thieves from being Grinches.
A vigil will be held Saturday morning in Newport News to mark the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
A tractor-trailer crashed into a pole in Suffolk early Friday morning.