Memorial held for victims of 2008 fighter jet crash

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SAN DIEGO -- Members of the community gathered Saturday to honor four residents whose lives were taken 10 years ago when an FA-18 fighter jet plummeted from the sky and crashed into a University City neighborhood.

Alarms began going off at exactly 11:58 a.m. to mark 10 years since the deadly jet crash.

“It was ten years ago on this date that tragedy struck our community,” said one resident.

“It is a day for tears and it is a day for healing,” said another.

Don Yoon, a South Korean immigrant, lost his wife, two daughters and his mother-in-law in the crash. All remembered with the planting of trees.

“The University City Community Foundation was honored to donate the four Jacaranda trees as a living tribute to the four innocent lives that ended way too soon,” said a member of the community.

On December 8, 2008,  Yoon's family was killed when an FA-18 military jet fell from the sky and crashed into several homes in the neighborhood.

Pilot Lt. Dan Neubauer experienced engine failure and was trying to land at MCAS Miramar when his second engine failed. He ejected from the plane and survived.

The Marine Corps found that negligent maintenance and human error were the causes of that crash.  Since then, it has tightened safety and maintenance procedures.

“Nobody’s expecting an airplane flying, falling from the skies literally,” neighbor Pia Mantovani-Sud said.

Mantovani-Sud lives across from where the Yoon family died. She organized Saturday's memorial.

“The sadness of it, when you realized that these people have died,” Montavani-Sud stated.

She says the residents who were there are still reeling from the loss and hope the trees serve as a reminder of how short and precious life is.

“How do you move on from that, it’s really hard, so that’s why I wanted to do this ceremony because people are still talking about this event and we really never had the opportunity to get together and heal together,” Montavani-Sud said.

Col Charles Dockery, Commanding Officer of MCAS Miramar appeared live on the FOX 5 News on Friday, but also released this statement to FOX 5 on Saturday:

"Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Yoon, and his friends and family in

University City. As we approach the 10 year anniversary of the tragic mishap

in 2008, it is a time of reflection for all of us here aboard MCAS Miramar.

This is an event that remains etched into the hearts and minds of our

Marines and those who live beside us.

While we recognize that this was one flight out of over two million flight

operations since the re-designation of MCAS Miramar, we aim to prevent a

similar incident from happening in our community in the future. Over the

last 10 years, our processes and procedures have, and will continue to, be

improved to ensure something like this never happens again." 

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