LAKE WORTH, Texas - One of the two pilots injured after a training flight crashed into a Lake Worth neighborhood was able to leave the hospital on Monday.
Another pilot aboard the plane remains hospitalized at Parkland in Dallas as of Monday evening after he and the other pilot had to eject from their aircraft.
Navy investigators say it’s a blessing that people on the ground were not more seriously injured in the crash of a jet Sunday near Fort Worth.
The crash site remained under careful scrutiny on Monday. There were still scattered remnants where a Navy instructor pilot and student aviator crash-landed after ejecting themselves from an aircraft Sunday morning. Parts of the craft, even an ejector seat, lay strewn about and covered in plastic tarps while investigators from NAS-JRB take careful stock of the scene.
John Baxter is part of the team supporting the investigation that will collect the debris and transport it to an installation for further review.
"The wreckage is predominantly contained to the rear backyards of homes, there’s some additional ancillary damage to fences," Baxter said.
Navy officials confirmed the plane that went down was a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer. The two were conducting a routine training flight that began in Corpus Christi.
Both men pulled their parachutes and survived. The Navy said the student pilot was more seriously injured because of shocks he suffered from landing on power lines.
"For a tragic event like this, it’s also a blessing. One, the crew got out of the aircraft alive. Most importantly there were no casualties on the ground. The only loss is the aircraft and property damage. That can be restored," Baxter said.
Navy officials say two homes were damaged in the neighborhood due to the crash.
20-year-old Kaitlyn Deramus says ever since she was 4 years old, she’s known her elderly neighbor.
"I went to my neighbor’s house, and I was banging on her door. She didn’t understand what was happening," she said. "She thought that maybe a car crashed outside or something. She didn’t understand it was an airplane."
Her neighbor’s backyard is now where the U.S. Navy’s safety and environmental teams are gathering what’s left of the plane for evidence.
Deramus believes she’s fortunate to have been able to help her neighbor.
"And I was explaining to her, I was like, ‘No, there’s an airplane in your backyard. You need to get out of your house before it explodes.’ And she was not leaving," she recalled. "And I just picked her up and scooped her up and got her out. And after that, I went to the other house behind her house and got an old lady out of there because she’s paralyzed and needed help out."
The torched jet and the mound of debris surrounding it remind people in Lake Worth just how closely they avoided disaster.
"She was freaking out. She was having a panic attack," Deramus said. "She couldn’t breathe. Her whole body was shaking."