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Jet Crash Kills Two

Two crewmen died when a Navy F-4 jet plane appeared to explode near the ground and crash, during an airshow at the Point Mugu Naval Air Weapons station.

The plane used by the Navy as a target in training flights, burned after the crash near the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the Navy air station, about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Navy officials withheld identification of the two crew members who perished, until their families can be notified. The plane was taking part in a flight with five other military aircraft when the crash occurred.

Eyewitness Jim Hardie said he was about one-quarter-mile away when the plane was banking to the right, and a sudden burst of flame came from the engine area. He said the plane was only 150 to 200 feet above ground when it exploded.

There were no known injuries on the ground when the crash occurred about 12:20 p-m in a remote area of the air base near the Point Mugu beach. It took fire crews about ten minutes to extinguish the fire from the crashed plane.

The jet, assigned to the Naval Air Weapons Test Squadron at Point Mugu, had been taking part in the 38th Point Mugu Airshow.

A witness told radio station K-V-E-N that the pilot ejected from the plane but couldn´t use a parachute, because the plane was too low to the ground.

The rest of the day´s activities at the air show were cancelled, with thousands of spectators told to leave the base. After the crash, the California Highway Patrol closed several access roadways around the Navy base including California coastal Highway 1.