Jet Fighter Crashes In Willow Grove

Posted: January 12, 1990

A Marine jet fighter plane crashed this morning in a residential area near the Naval Air Station in Willow Grove.

The plane, manned only by a pilot, slammed into buildings near Blair Mill and Easton roads, about a mile south of the air base. The crash occurred around 10:45 a.m.

The pilot parachuted from the plane and landed safely. One witness said his parachute was snagged on a tree, but he was able to get to the ground.

The crashing plane set fire to a house, which apparently was unoccupied. There also was damage to at least one other building.

There was no immediate report of any casualties, although the pilot was taken to Abington Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. A hospital spokesman said he was in stable condition.

The area is heavily developed with both business and residential buildings. A restaurant, a pizza shop, and two gasoline stations occupy the four corners of the intersection. An apartment building is behind one of the gas stations.

Some debris from the plane was reported on the ground at Willow Avenue and Broadway, a block south of the Blair Mill and Easton roads intersection. The scene is in Upper Moreland Township, Montgomery County.

A base spokesman said the plane was making its last approach before landing. He identified it as an A4 Skyhawk from Marine Air Group 49.

State Police at the Willow Grove barracks said the plane had "damaged a residential area." The troopers had no details of the damage, however.

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