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Claims seeking millions pending in F-18 crash

Fourteen claims seeking a total of $70.1 million were pending Wednesday over the crash of a Marine Corps F-18 jet fighter into a University City neighborhood last December, it was reported.

The Dec. 8 accident killed four people, destroyed two homes and damaged several others. Since the crash, 12 minor claims have been settled for a combined payout of $83,000, Navy spokeswoman Jennifer Zeldis told The North County Times.

“There’s a fair amount of paperwork and information that is required,’' Zeldis told the newspaper. “Our professionals are experts with the Federal Tort Claims Act and will ensure that the (remaining 14) claims are adjudicated fairly.’'

Navy officials refused to divulge the specifics of any of the claims or to say if Dong Yun Yoon, the man whose wife, two young daughters and mother-in-law died in the accident, had filed a claim, according to the newspaper.

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Yoon’s claim would probably seek several million dollars in damages for the loss of his home and family, the Times reported.

In March, the lead investigator, Marine Col. John Rupp, said the crash was caused by a series of bad decisions made by the pilot and commanders on the ground after the fighter’s engines quit in flight. Investigators also said the mechanical failures that plagued the fighter on Dec. 8 should have been fixed months earlier.

The pilot, Marine Lt. Dan Neubauer, ejected safely moments before impact. He resumed flying in April, the Times reported.