Marine pilot given probationary flight status

The Marine Corps will let a pilot who crashed an F/A- 18 into a University City house, killing four people, will fly again, even though investigators faulted his judgment in the Dec. 8 accident, it was reported Wednesday.

Lt. Dan Neubauer is on probationary flight status, Maj. Eric Dent told the North County Times. "The decision to assign him to that status was made following due deliberations,'' the Pentagon spokesman told the newspaper.

Neubauer, who ejected and suffered only minor injuries, ignored standard procedures for an emergency and he insisted, for unknown reasons, to try to make it to Miramar Marine Corps Air Station to land, even though air traffic controllers cleared him to land at North Island Naval Air Station, according to military crash investigators.

Investigators blamed Neubauer for a series of bad decisions. The fighter jet also had a problem a maintenance crew noted months before, but the squadron failed to fix it, according to the report.

Four people with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 lost their jobs in the wake of the crash -- the flight squadron's commanding officer, operations officer, duty officer and the maintenance officer.

Nine other Marines and sailors were punished administratively. Neubauer was not disciplined.

Neubauer was in the final weeks of his F/A-18 training when the jet lost one engine, then the other. The crash killed Youngmi Lee, 36; her daughters Grace, 15 months, and Rachel, 2 months; and Lee's mother, Seokim Kim, 60.

   
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