Video: Man doesn't blame pilot

updated 12/10/2008 2:28:31 PM ET 2008-12-10T19:28:31

A Korean immigrant whose wife, two young daughters and mother-in-law perished when a military jet crashed into his house says he doesn't blame the pilot who safely ejected.

The Marine Corps fighter plane was returning from an offshore training mission Monday when it clipped a tree and slammed into homes about two miles from its base. Two homes were incinerated, and three others were damaged. Three generations of a Korean family died in one home.

The family's pastor, the Rev. Kevin Lee of the Korean United Methodist Church in San Diego, identified three of them as Young Mi Yoon, 36; her 2-month-old daughter, Rachel; and her mother, Suk Im Kim, 60, who was visiting from South Korea to help care for her daughter's newborn.

The body of 15-month-old Grace Yoon, Rachel's sister, was found in the home Tuesday, Fire Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. No one else remained missing.

The San Diego County medical examiner's office has not officially released the names of the victims.

No hard feelings
Young Mi Yoon's husband defended the pilot Tuesday.

"I don't have any hard feelings," Dong Yun Yoon, 37, told reporters near the rubble where his home once stood. "I know he did everything he could."

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," Dong Yun Yoon said. "I know he is one of our treasured for the country."

Dong Yun Yoon, who left Korea in 1989 and became a U.S. citizen, wondered aloud how he would persevere after losing his family.

"Please tell me how to do it," he said, surrounded by his pastor, sister, brother and church members. "I don't know what to do."

Meanwhile, a high-ranking congressman called on the Marine Corps on Tuesday to release the maintenance records of all fighter jets of the type that lost power and crashed into the San Diego neighborhood.

Power failure
Rep. Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said the fiery crash Monday of the F/A-18D Hornet fighter as it approached Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was apparently caused by power failure.

"My understanding ... is that the engines failed, causing the aircraft to lose thrust," said Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper.

Slideshow: Deadly jet crash

The crash was probably unrelated to the previous discovery of cracks in hinges on the wings of more than a dozen of the $57 million aircraft, the San Diego-area congressman said.

"It is important that we gain a complete understanding of what went wrong," Hunter said in a statement.

Marine Cpl. Travis Easter said officials at Miramar had no immediate response to the request for maintenance records.

The Navy announced last month that it was grounding 10 of the planes and limiting the flights of 20 others because of the cracks. It was not immediately clear whether the plane that crashed in San Diego was under any flight restrictions.

The pilot ejected safely and was taken to a naval hospital in stable condition. He was discovered hanging by his parachute from a tree in a canyon beneath the neighborhood.

Miramar officials declined to say whether he remained hospitalized, but witnesses said he appeared unhurt.

Neighbors said the family of Korean immigrants had moved into the area about three months ago.

Resident Choko McConnell, 85, a widow who lives down the street, said she often saw the grandmother pushing a child in a stroller.

"I cried all night," McConnell said. "A family perished, a young family."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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