A Navy F-14 fighter jet heavy with fuel for a return trip to California crashed in a huge fireball in a neighborhood Monday, demolishing three houses and killing five people.
Three of the dead were in a house that took a direct hit from the Tomcat, as the F-14 is known. The others killed were the plane’s twomember crew.
The fighter had taken off from Nashville International Airport on a training mission, returning to its base at the Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego.
The fighter jet hit one house, engulfing homes to either side in flames and littering the neighborhood with plane parts.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
The Navy identified the pilot as Lt. Cmdr. John Stacy Bates, 33, originally of Chattanooga. The radar interceptor officer was identified as Lt. Graham Alden Higgins, 28, from Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.
Neither ejected before the crash.
Elmer Newsom, 66, and his wife, Ada Newsom, 63, were killed in their home, police said.
A visiting friend, Ewing T. Wair, 53, also was killed.