The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Eyewitnesses to the "Good Friday Miracle"

By Zsa Zsa Palagyi
The 700 Club - It was Good Friday, a little past noon. School had just been let out for Easter break in Virginia Beach, Virginia… when something completely unexpected happened.

Cheryl McKee owns a pet supply store in Virginia Beach and says,  “The air started vibrating.”

Ten-year-old Isabelle Travers was heading out to play with a friend and remembers, “I just heard a loud noise, and it went chick-a-boom, boom, BOOM!!!”

Zsa Zsa Palagyi thought it might have been a tornado or a terrorist attack, “There was all this black stuff, I mean like heavy, dark, black smoke just going by the window.”

Ben Dishner says it looked like a war zone.  “I’m like My God, no no no. I’m just screaming NO, NO, NO!”

It was an F/A 18D Hornet that had malfunctioned right after takeoff from the nearby Oceana Naval Base -- and slammed into the Mayfair Mews apartment complex in a highly populated residential neighborhood. 

911 received a number of calls.  “Virginia Beach 911.  Where’s the Emergency?”  An eye-witness replied, “A navy plane just went down off of 24th Street.   The apartment building is completely destroyed.”

After an explosion, another caller is recorded as saying, “Oh my God, it’s terrible, the whole thing is on fire.  And it’s a senior community. Oh my God, all those old people.  Oh my God… oh my Jesus.”

The jet’s two-man crew ejected, just 50 feet above ground. Then, the massive aircraft made impact.

Patrick Kavanaugh was there.  “I saw the pilot laying on the ground here, on his side, hands in the air, white as a sheet.  He was still connected to his parachute, which was connected to the roof of this building here. We had to cut the lines, get him free of the parachute.  A bunch of us picked him up, dragged him to the front parking lot area, away from the flames.  The heavy black smoke started to come over the rooftop here and I knew we had a matter of minutes before the fire was going to come this way.”

As the ominous black smoke rose from the crash site and countless emergency responders ran to the scene, everyone expected the worst.

Neighbor Cheryl Mckee declares, “I saw it go in and I thought, oh gosh, they’re all dead!”

Patrick K looked back at the buildings, “And I just counted the people that had perished.  Because I’m here everyday, I’m retired, I don’t go anywhere.  I got to the front and looked and “they’re dead, they’re passed away, she’s gone.”

Mayor Will Sessoms of Virginia Beach feared the same, “When I came over here, about right where we’re standing, there was a massive fire still going on.  There were buildings to my right that were pretty well demolished.  The first question I asked the fire chief was how many casualties do we have?”

As the tragedy unfolded throughout the day, it became worldwide news, and many people prayed.

(continue to Part 2)

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