January 29, 1996
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EST
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- An F-14 fighter jet crashed into a residential neighborhood moments after takeoff Monday, exploding into flames and killing at least five people. (349K QuickTime movie)
Police and the mayor's office said those killed included the two crew members and three people on the ground. At least three homes were engulfed in flames.
"It took off, went straight up and straight down," said Martha Bradley, a spokeswoman at Nashville International Airport. The crash occurred about 10:50 a.m. EST about 1.5 miles from the end of the runway.
Local television coverage showed three homes on fire 30 minutes after the plane went down.
Tammy Burgess, who was driving to a restaurant at the time of the crash, said she saw the plane flying low over homes.
"I saw the plane go down so fast," she said. "In the blink of an eye, it exploded. It was terrible."
Other witnesses in the Luna Heights subdivision told of seeing the plane crash into the roof of a home; they said several houses were demolished. (178K AIFF sound or 178K WAV sound)
In Washington, Navy officials confirmed it was an F-14 Navy Tomcat jet, a two-seater, based at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. The plane was on a routine training mission, and had flown into Nashville Sunday. The crew was to return to San Diego Monday.
Fire Dept. Lieutenant Wayne Renardson said his department responded to reports that a plane had crashed and exploded into a "huge ball of flame," setting three or four homes ablaze.
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