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Ten years later, Navy remembers 'Good Friday Miracle'

A Navy jet crashed into an apartment complex, yet nobody -- not the aviators, nor anyone on the ground -- was seriously injured.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The flight lasted just 72 seconds, but its aftermath still resonates today.

Exactly ten years ago, a Navy jet crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex, yet, somehow, nobody got hurt.

It was the aviation mishap that came to be known as "The Good Friday Miracle."

The F/A-18 Hornet suddenly dropped out of the sky after the aircraft experienced twin engine failures within seconds after takeoff.    

The plane went down in a densely populated neighborhood, right off Interstate-264. About 40 apartment units at the Mayfair Mews complex were destroyed.

The two aviators who were in the plane ejected moments before impact.

Incredibly, neither they, nor anyone on the ground were seriously injured.

Former 13News Now reporter Joe Flanagan was the first journalist on the scene. In an interview Wednesday, he said he still can't believe what a happy ending this story ended up having.

"How in the world did that thing crash and not kill somebody?" he asked.

Former Oceana Commanding Officer Bob Geis attributes the good outcome to excellent training -- for the Navy pilots and the municipal first responders.

"And the teamwork that was displayed by really amazing professionals both at the Navy at Oceana and the Region, and the City of Virginia Beach," he said. "You know everybody had one goal. And that goal was to take care of people and do the right thing."

Geis continued: "It was truly miraculous. And, 'The Good Friday Miracle' is a really good name for it."

The federal government made payments totaling $4.1 million to 79 people whose property was damaged in the crash.

The Navy also paid to rebuild the apartment complex.

But a few years later, the property was sold, the apartments were bulldozed, and new condominiums went up in their place.

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