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All residents safe after U.S. Navy jet levels Virginia apartments

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Fire fighters survey the burnt-out wreckage of the tail of a Navy F/A-18D jet fighter which crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach April 6, 2012. Both crew members ejected from the aircraft before it crashed into the buildings and all injuries on the ground were minor according to officials.
Credit: Reuters/Rich-Joseph Facun
Fire fighters survey the burnt-out wreckage of the tail of a Navy F/A-18D jet fighter which crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach April 6, 2012. Both crew members ejected from the aircraft before it crashed into the buildings and all injuries on the ground were minor according to officials. Credit: Reuters/Rich-Joseph Facun

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - All residents of an apartment complex for the elderly in Virginia that was destroyed when a U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed into it on Friday, have been accounted for, with only one resident still hospitalized with minor injuries, a rescue crew chief said on Saturday.

The person not yet discharged is in good condition though believed to have broken bones, Virginia Beach Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Tim Riley.

"Everyone has been accounted for" at the Mayfair Mews complex in Virginia Beach, Riley told Reuters. "We are not actively looking for anyone."

The U.S. Navy F/A-18 jet fighter suffered what a Pentagon official described as "a catastrophic mechanical malfunction" during a training flight before it crashed shortly after take-off, sending fireballs into the sky, damaging six buildings and injuring seven people, including both crew members.

Both crew members ejected and one was found still strapped into his ejection seat.

Thick black clouds of smoke billowed into the air as fire reduced the apartment buildings to a blackened shell. The Mayfair Mews complex was less than two miles from Naval Air Station Oceana, where the F-18D was based.

Crews had searched into the night for any injured residents in five of the buildings, several of which have collapsed.

Riley said officials are now attending to the needs of the up to 63 residents whose apartment units were destroyed, including finding long-term housing for them.

(Reporting by Philip Barbara; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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