A Navy plane crashed in a residential area in Southern Alabama on Friday afternoon, killing its two crew members, the Navy said.
The plane went down next to a home near Foley, Ala., a coastal area about 30 miles southeast of Mobile, Ala., officials said. No civilians on the ground were injured, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office said.
The two pilots in the plane were an instructor and a student, said Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a Naval Air Forces spokesman. The Navy said it would not release the names of the pilots until 24 hours after next of kin had been notified.
The plane had departed from the Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Santa Rosa County, Fla., about 60 miles northeast of where it crashed, he said.
The crash, which occurred around 4:20 p.m., sent debris toward a house, catching it on fire, said Joseph Darby, chief of the Foley Fire Department. The two occupants in the home at the time escaped, Chief Darby said.
Two vehicles and the “remainders of the plane” were destroyed in the fire, he said. Fire crews were able to extinguish the blaze quickly, he said, preventing it from spreading to other homes on the street.
James Farris, who lives across the street from the house that caught on fire, said he saw the crash through the front window of his home office. He often hears training aircraft flying overhead, he said, but the plane on Friday afternoon was audibly flying low.
“It sounded like the Blue Angels,” he said, referring to the group of Navy jets that perform aerial demonstrations. “It was flying really low.”
As Mr. Farris was looking for the plane, he saw it dive nose-first into the ground.
“At impact, it exploded,” he said, adding that it shot a “big ball of flame” toward the house that caught on fire. “When the fuel exploded, it went forward into that house,” he said.
The two people who escaped from the home that caught fire were a father and a daughter, he said.
The Department of Defense is investigating the accident, the sheriff’s office said.