A Marine Corps F/A-18D flying out of Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, crashed into the family property of the former governor of South Carolina on Thursday.
The F/A-18, with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, was conducting a routine flying mission when it crashed into former Gov. Mark Sanford’s family property on Halfmoon Island, South Carolina, around 3:15 p.m., the Island Packet first reported.
Marine Corps Times has reached out to the Marine Corps for more details.
Both Marines in the aircraft were safely able to eject and are in stable condition, the paper reported.
The plane crashed near where Sanford’s father is buried, in an area known as Coosaw Plantation, the former governor told the Island Packet. The former governor was not at the scene of the crash.
Footage of the crash by a local man noted an engine that was on fire.
Sarah Sanford Rauch, the former governor’s sister, told the Island Packet, “We watched this plane take off, and my brother (Bill) made a comment about the afterburner and ... it was like this great yellow, white flame shooting out of the back of one of the engines.”
“I said, ‘That’s a fire.’ Then all of a sudden, the plane started slowing down and slowing down, and the flames were getting bigger and bigger, and they were, you could tell, kind of reeving to try to stay in the air, and all of a sudden it just slowed down and then it went nose-down ... and I yelled to my brother, ‘No, no, no, no, no, it’s going down.’ (I) watched it roll, and then go nose dive, and then a couple seconds later, it was a colossal explosion.”
Charles Allen, a local man who witnessed the accident, said he heard a large “boom,” as if a bomb had gone off, according to the Island Packet.
“There were no civilian casualties,” Capt. Thomas Jones, a Beaufort, South Carolina, spokesman told the Island Packet. “There was some damage to property but we are working with the people who owned the property on that.”
This story will be updated once Marine Corps Times learns more.