A Navy flier died Tuesday of injuries suffered when he and another aviator ejected from their disabled jet over downtown El Cajon just moments before it crashed upside down at a civilian airfield Monday.
Lt. (j.g.) Randy L. Furtado, 27, the radar intercept officer on the F-14A Tomcat, apparently died of a broken neck at 1 p.m. Tuesday, a Navy spokesman said.
The pilot, Lt. Cmdr. Jim Barnett, 36, who was at the controls of the jet Monday, suffered a broken arm and heel and was in stable condition Tuesday. Three people on the ground at Gillespie Field were injured when the jet slammed into two hangars and burst into flames. Two remain hospitalized.
Navy officials were looking into the cause of the crash Tuesday but said a hydraulic system failure apparently was a factor.
Barnett and Furtado were on a routine training flight over the Pacific Ocean Monday when the hydraulic system on their plane began to fail, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Pritchard, a Navy spokesman, said Tuesday.
Following directions in a Navy manual, they turned back toward land to attempt a landing at their home base at Miramar Naval Air Station but crashed about 10 miles short of the base.