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Family of victims sues over Marine jet crash in
San Diego

CBS San Diego
From the Associated Press

July 29, 2010

SAN DIEGO (AP): The family of four people killed in the crash of a Marine Corps jet in a San Diego County neighborhood two years ago sued the federal government and Boeing Wednesday.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by Dong Yun Yoon, whose wife, two daughters and mother-in-law were killed in the December 2008 crash that incinerated two homes and damaged others in University City.

The suit accuses the military and Boeing, the aircraft’s maker, of negligence and seeks unspecified damages.

The military disciplined 13 members of the Marines and Navy after the crash, which was blamed on mechanical problems and a string of bad decisions that led the pilot to bypass a potentially safe landing at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado.

The suit claims the F-18 Hornet had “a history of warnings and system failures” related to its fuel system and never should have been cleared for takeoff.

Calls to Boeing after hours Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Court documents accuse the Marine Corps of making decisions “in violation of written military standards, which if complied with would have avoided the tragic ending.”

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.

The pilot, Lt. Dan Neubauer, described in a statement to investigators how he struggled to control the malfunctioning jet in the minutes before the crash.

The pilot was on a training flight from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln when he was forced to shut down one engine because of mechanical trouble. The hobbled jet was told to bypass a coastal Navy base that offered an approach over water and to instead fly inland over San Diego to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Neubauer told investigators he “screamed in horror” when he saw the jet crash into homes.

Previously released recordings of conversations between federal air controllers and the pilot show he was repeatedly offered a chance to land the plane at the Navy base, which sits at the tip of a peninsula with a flight path over San Diego Bay.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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