VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. -- A Navy fighter jet crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment building at about noon today, igniting a blaze that damaged five apartment buildings. Two unidentified crewmembers ejected from the F/A-18D, with what were described as minor injuries. One of the crewmembers, still strapped to his ejection seat, was assisted by bystanders. "He was in shock," but seemed OK, said Pat Kavanaugh, a retired local fire department rescue squad member told CNN. The F/A-18 is a twin engine, all-weather fighter jet used for air-to-air combat and ground attacks. Today's crash was at least the third involving the aircraft this year. An F/A-18C crashed on Feb. 26 in Bahrain, just two days after an F/A-18F crashed during a routine training mission in Fallon, Nev. Tim Riley, a spokesman for the Virginia Beach Fire Department, says there is "significant" damage to five Virginia Beach apartment buildings.
Officials said there were no immediate reports of injuries on the ground. Black smoke billowed from some buildings.
Overhead helicopter video from WAVY-TV showed fire crews in the apartment complex with large ladders spraying water on multiple smoking buildings, one of which has part of its roof torn off.
Bruce Nedelka, Virginia Beach EMS division chief, said several people were being treated for smoke inhalation.
The Navy said in a news release that the jet was an F/A-18D assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106 based at Naval Air Station Oceana.
The Navy says the jet crashed shortly after takeoff at a site near the base. Both aviators were taken to a local hospital for observation.
The squadron trains Navy and Marine Corps replacement pilots and weapon systems officers to support fleet commitments.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state is providing immediate resources and assistance on the ground and working with Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms.
The Hampton Roads area of Virginia has a large concentration of military bases, including Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world. Naval Air Station Oceana is located in Virginia Beach.