December 8, 2008 MCAS Miramar F-18 fighter jet crashes in University City


F-18 crash 8 Dec 2008 – timeline narrative by Ron Belanger: 11:57:59 PST: Pilot ejected from his crippled F-18 at 400’ above UC High School. He landed safely near Lippman and Robbins. Source: Command Investigation of the crash by 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Miramar.

Less than 10 seconds later, about 11:58:09 PST, the F-18 crashed into homes on Cather Ave and Huggins in University City causing 4 deaths, catastrophic damage and multiple large fires fed by fuel from the aircraft wreckage. Within seconds, 9-1-1 operators started receiving multiple reports with accurate location information. I wasted several minutes trying to get through to 911 but never got through. I decided that call was no longer needed and headed out the door to the crash site about 5 houses away, grabbing my camera on the way out.

Courtesy of Ron Belanger, view his complete timeline and pictures of the crash scene and aftermath at 

Citizens Advocating Safe Aviation (CASA) watchdog group was formed by a group of residents in San Diego’s University City neighborhood after the December 8, 2008, crash of an F-18 aircraft which killed four neighbors: two children and their mother and grandmother. It also destroyed several homes and narrowly missed University City High School. For information about the crash and CASA, visit

Report from San Diego Union Tribune: 

From the Internet and contributed by neighbors, crash-related photos and images 

For related MCAS Miramar news, visit

For MCAS Miramar operations and contact information, visit

For information about the Memorial and Tree Dedication held on December 8, 2018, to honor the victims, visit