Washington: Virginia Beach residents have been warned to avoid the site of a Navy jet crash, lest they come in contact with toxic materials that were sent swirling into the air upon impact.
They were also warned to leave alone any debris they might find from the downed aircraft and call 911 to report it.
Experts warned that inhaling the smoke or the charred carbon fibre material from the F/A-18 could cause health problems, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The warning comes in the wake of emergency responders searching for victims in the apartment buildings struck by the aircraft and investigators trying to piece together the wreckage.
A Navy official said the jet suffered "catastrophic engine failure" shortly after take-off from Naval Air Station Oceana, causing the F/A-18 Hornet to drop out of the sky,” as one witness described it.
The crash occurred around 12:30 pm (Eastern time), and the two pilots aboard ejected safely.
One of the pilots was reportedly found in a backyard, disoriented and still strapped to his seat.
No casualties have been reported so far, but six people, including the jet’s two crew members were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Rescue teams have cordoned off a residential area even beyond the apartment complex where the crash occurred.