Newport Beach residents were given a close up view of four F-18 fighter jets yesterday in an unannounced low altitude flyby that startled residents and rattled nerves. The incident grabbed people’s attention just before 6 p.m. yesterday.
The jets, were seen by many as they flew fast and low buzzing the harbor before flying northwest towards Los Angeles. A second pair of older military “warbirds” followed the jet fly-over in a more typical flight pattern over Newport Beach.
The Independent has confirmed the military jets were flying in conjunction with a memorial service being conducted at the Balboa Island Yacht Club for John Callahan, a decorated World War II veteran who died in February.
According to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor, “It was a memorial flyby of four F-18s at 1,000 feet over Balboa Island Yacht Club. The military coordinated it with FAA ATC.”
The jets, according to Gregor “flew out of of Long Beach.”
This reporter was riding the Balboa Ferry from the Fun Zone back to Balboa Island at the time of the incident and witnessed three of the jets come in low and fast and fly north up the harbor’s main channel before turning left and heading out over the open ocean. Another F-18 jet broke off from the other three and headed west straight out over the ocean near the entrance to the harbor.
Passengers on the ferry were all startled by the jets as they flew by suddenly.
Video by Jessica Asuelime