More remains found at jet crash site <img src=”” border=”0”>


Authorities today found a fourth body - that of a 15-month-old child - in the ruins of a University City home destroyed when a disabled Marine Corps jet crashed moments after the pilot safely ejected.

The remains of the girl were unaccounted for during a roughly 24-hour period following the discovery of the bodies of her mother, grandmother and infant sister in the scorched rubble of the house, city officials said.

The F/A-18D Hornet plunged to the ground just before noon Monday near Cather Avenue and Huggins Street, about a mile northwest of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Authorities have not released the names of the dead, but members of a local Methodist church identified the younger woman as Young Mi Yoon, 36, her 2-month-old daughter as Rachel and her elder child as Grace.

Leaders of the congregation were unable to provide the name of Yoon’s mother, who was visiting from Korea to help care for the newborn baby.

The mother’s husband and father of the girls, Dong Yun Yoon, reportedly was at work at the time of the plane crash.

Crews resumed looking for the body of the missing toddler at daybreak with the help of search dogs, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The personnel found Grace Yoon’s body about 12:30 p.m., SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said. The county Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the identity of the remains and took custody of them, he said.

The aircraft, on a training mission off the carrier Abraham Lincoln, was ordered to fly to Miramar rather than return to the flattop after one of its engines failed.

The pilot, described as a lieutenant in his 20s, had been on a training flight and was heading back to base when the accident occurred.

Military officials blamed the crash on equipment malfunction.

“We don’t know exactly what was the cause of the problem he was having, and ... we will be conducting a thorough safety investigation to find that out,’’ Marine Corps Col. Chris O’Connor told reporters Monday afternoon.

The crash and resulting blaze destroyed two homes - the Yoons’ house and the unoccupied residence next door - and damaged three others.

Jason Widmer, a contractor, was working in the neighborhood at the time of the crash and spoke to the pilot.

“He was a little shaken up,’’ Widmer said. “The first thing he said to me, even before he said, I’m OK,’ he said,I hope I didn’t kill anybody.’’’

The lieutenant said one of the jet’s engines had gone out during his training mission and that the other one failed as he tried to make it back to MCAS Miramar for an emergency landing.

“He said he was powerless,’’ Widmer said. “He said he stayed with the bird as long as he could.’’

Despite the jet’s low altitude when the pilot bailed out, his parachute deployed properly. The flier, whose name has been withheld, drifted into a tree and was briefly hung up in its branches, but he suffered no serious injuries.

He was taken to Naval Medical Center San Diego for observation.

Authorities cautioned anyone finding debris from the downed jet not to touch it and to notify the Marine Corps by calling (858) 577-1727.

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