tonight on "nightline," crash and burn. a fighter jet smashes into an apartment building, exploding into flames. we'll hear from the stuns eye witnesses and tell you why this may have been an accident waiting to happen. mamma's boils for life. she cooks, she clean, she caters to every need. so, who needs a wife? tonight, we go inside the minds of men who refuse to leave their mothers. and the beetle cam. it's the creepy, crawly camera that is capturing mother nature at never before seen angles. tonight, a bug's eye view of some of africa's wild els
predators. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," april 6th, 2012. >> good evening, i'm bill weir. they are multimillion dollar machines built to protect america. but for some living near the naval air base in virginia beach, the roar of those fighter jets brought more concern than comfort. and tonight, those feerls became reality when an f-18 plummeted to earth, minutes after takeoff, raining jet fuel before smashing into an apartment building. seven people were hospitalized, includes both pilots, and now, all but one has been released. here's abc's martha raddatz. >> reporter: the crash happened just after noon. moments after the f-18 fighter jet had taken off on a training mission from theoceana
nay vail station in virginia beach. a two-seat fighter jet. 30,000 pounds of titanium, steel and carbon fiber, carrying a full load of fuel. 12,000 pounds. at the control, a student pilot. his fighter pilot instructor behind him. watching a catastrophe unfold. >> the plane went straight up with no sound and then it went right into a dive. >> reporter: a dive directly into an apartment complex in a congested neighborhood, just two miles from where the fighter jet had taken off moments before. >> the whole thing was in flames, the whole backyard. and then things started to explode. and -- i don't know -- i mean, things just kept exploding. >> reporter: both pilots managed to eject. but with just seconds to spare before the jet plunged into the apartment. residents who escaped the flames ran to their aid. >> i saw the pilot, i saw the
parachute on the ice and he was still connected to it. he was laying on the ground with a face full of blood. >> he apologized for hitting our complex and i told him, don't worry about it. >> reporter: while fire engines and emergency vehicles swarmed the complex, stunned neighbors lined the streets. some, overcome by the shock of it all. >> i'm sorry. i've just got the shakes real bad. >> reporter: investigators have already begun trying to piece together what happened. >> initial indications are that that aircraft suffered a catastrophic mechanical malfunction. >> reporter: abc news has learned that the jet, an older model f-18 b, began leaking massive amounts of fuel on takeoff. the pilot shut down the engine with the fuel leak and tried to dump more, but could not keep it airborne. >> okay, let's go.
>> reporter: takeoff in a fighter jet can be exhilarating. and chaotic, as i experienced in a combat mission over afghanista afghanistan. the pull of gravity and an adrenaline rush all have to be dealt with, while, at the same time, flying an extraordinarily complex air craft. >> it's a very, very difficult proposition, even for a seasoned, well-experienced pilot, to be able to handle an engine failure or fire right after takeoff. >> reporter: steve ganyard, an abc news consultant, is a former f-18 pilot, as well as instructor and crash investigator. >> i'm sure they were over populated areas and they wanted to do everything they could to get that airplane away from populated areas, away from where, if it went into the ground, it would hurt people. the airplane wasn't flyable anymore and they were very close to the ground and also we saw, landed very close to the wreckage, which tells me that it was a very late decision to
eject. >> reporter: you can see just how close it might have been for these two pilots in this 2010 video of another fighter jet crash. that is the parachute there on the left. in 2008, the pilot of an f-18 that crashed outside of san diego managed to eject, as well. but a family of four on the ground perished. maintenance issue s and an olde aircraft contributed to that crash. >> this is what the investigators look at. what caused this? did they have a fire after takeoff? why did this crew lose control of this aircraft and why did they have to make that decision to eject? >> reporter: already, today's incident is raising questions about the proximity of the base to the community that had grown up around it over the years. >> i've lived here for 14 years and i knew one day something like this was going to happen.
because, i mean, the jet, they just come in and they're coming in lower and it's scary. >> reporter: efforts have been made in previous years to move the base, but no solution has been found. today's fiery crash will almost certainly start the debate once again. for "nightline," i'm martha raddatz. >> officials have yet to account for all the residents of the apartments. a search for potential victims continues into the night. our thanks to martha for that. just ahead, inside the mind of a mama's boy, who is pushing 40. [ male announcer ] if your kids like movies with animals... ♪ ...action heroes... ♪ ...sing-alongs, or whatever else, then you and your family will love netflix. netflix lets you watch unlimited movies and tv episodes
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>> in italy, they are called mammone. grown men still living with mother. due to tradition and the economy, almost 40% of italian men in their early 30s are yet to leave the nest. of course, the percentage much lower in america, where such an arrangement might be a red flag down at the singles bar. butch as a service to all who wonder about the merits of the mama's boy, abc's juju chang found a little slice of mammone, just north of manhattan. ♪ >> ma, how long is that sauce going to be made? i want a meat ball or two. >> reporter: this is frankie. >> i'm afraid i'm going to break the meat balls. >> reporter: he's a polite, gainfully employed bachelor. but here's the thing about frankie. he's 38 and still lives with his mother. >> this is my room. >> reporter: how old were you when you came into this room? >> when i came into this room, i was 16?
>> reporter: 16? and frankie has no plans to move out. >> why get my own apartment if i can be right here with my mother and my family that i love, you know? why move? >> reporter: of course, if gina was your mother, you would want to live here, too. that looks like magic. because gina -- >> ma! >> reporter: caters to frankie's every need. >> can i have an espresso, please? >> reporter: he's proud of it. achl cross the country, as many as 3 in 10 adult children live at home because of the bad economy. but that's not why frankie does it. >> economy has nothing to do with it. i find the right girl, i have a great job, i make good money. >> reporter: he doesn't pay rent. but he helps around the house. >> is this enough? >> reporter: and helps pay the bills. but it's not money that keeps him at home. he's a mama's boy, part of a new show on tlc. >> we're always home for dinner.
>> reporter: which unleashes another set of italian-american characters into the world of reality tv that seems shock full of mob wives and real housewives, of new jersey, that is. some italieye taitalian-america reality show perpetuate stair owe times. >> they're [ bleep ] from the other shows that going on tv, or, you know, gang sterps, mobsters, all of that. we want to show we're more about tradition, who we really are. >> reporter: frankie and the boys say their lives are more authentic. >> what are you going to be, another hour? >> reporter: is it me or is there a lot of shouting going on? why is it so loud in this household? >> it's all shouting. >> reporter: why? >> i grew up with them yelling, my mother and father. they had me on nerves all my life. >> reporter: it's okay -- >> it's how we talk. we talk yelling. >> reporter: and that's frankie's friend chip. 36, owns a gym, also a mama's
boy. this is a culture that worships women and moms. >> right. you know? it's big in our culture. >> reporter: that's the madonna, right next to your heart. can you show us your tats? >> three of my friends that were killed. >> oh, i'm sorry. how were they killed? >> various ways. >> reporter: really? >> like "jersey shore," the show does feature that healthy dose of partying. meticulous man scaping. >> where is miguel? >> iron my brown shirt, please? >> that's how it's done. >> reporter: and skirt chasing. perhaps a touch of "arrested development." >> no, i don't have a girlfriend. you out of your mind? i'm smart. >> reporter: have you ever brought a girl here? >> have i brought a girl here? yeah, but door's got to stay open. if i close it, mother ouches the
door, the girl -- >> reporter: turns out you live at home with your mother. >> yes. >> reporter: he doesn't have a curfew, but what mother doesn't keep tabs on her own son. >> thank you. >> reporter: when he goes out, drinking with his friends, do you stay up and wait for him? >> sometime yeah. sometimes i do. sometime i go to bed but i cannot sleep. >> reporter: are you afraid that people are going to look at this show, go, oh, italians live with their mothers -- >> they can look at the show the way they want to. the only thing is, we're showing our tradition, our values of who we really are, how we were really brought up. >> reporter: it seems no girl out there can measure up to mama. >> what is that, your sandwich? >> reporter: this is fantastic. >> there's never that perfect girl. there's never a perfect girl, there's nobody perfect in this world, you know? i just want somebody that's compatible to me. >> reporter: terry real is a family therapist who say these men are classic roam yoems who
may not realize their bachelor days have an expiration date. >> the job in your 30s and 40s is having a family, lifting yourself up out of your selfishness, being there for your wife and kids. it's good for you. it's about growth and development and depth. and if you are staying at this other level, you are doomed to super fish y'allty for the rest of your life. >> reporter: men of all ethnicities are getting married later in life, but instead of living in a bachelor pad, the mama's boys say they would rather leave at home. who would move out when you have food like this? >> i'm not going anywhere. >> reporter: it's maid service and exquisite dining. even home made wine. i don't want you to open anything for me. let's face it, it's not going to be easy for frankie to find a modern woman who can cook and clean up fafter him all the tim.
is it too late for me to be adopted? i'm enough juju chang for "nightline" in the bronx. >> if you have reason to lure a nice boy to the nest, mama gina's posted her special rec e recipes on abcnews.com. just ahead, cozying up to booemss with t s booem s beast cam. ♪ ...to wash any size load. ♪ it dissolves in any temperature, even cold. tide pods. a powerful three-in-one detergent that cleans, brightens, and fights stains. so all your looks pop. ♪ pop in. stand out.
couple of weeks ago, i introduced you to a south african wild life photographer who taught us to stay low while filming big cats. well, turns out he's now recovering from his wounds after being mauled by a tiger. so, perhaps the better advice is to stay away and mount the camera really low, as low as a bug's eye and send it in via remote control. and as abc's jeffrey kofman shows us, when beetle cam works, the results are spectacular. >> reporter: deep in the african savannah roam beetle-like creatures that, well -- just what are those things that look like they landed from another planet? so fearless that they dare approach the most ferocious of beasts. and -- gotcha! >> very nervous. >> reporter: so, it's not alone. it's being commanded remotely
but an inventive englishman. wild life photographer will berrard lucas. creator of the beetle cam. we melt will in the wilderness of london, regent's park, to see what it's all about. >> so, this is my beetle cam, with my camera mounted on top and it's -- >> reporter: that's remote? you control that wirelessly? >> yeah, so i've hooked up the camera to the radio receiver so that i can fire it using the same controls i use to steer the buggy. >> reporter: it's the same remote control used for model airplanes. this is fun that this is working for me. will handed it to me just as a pack of -- let's call them little lions, approached. very little lions. more than a bit intimidated by this strange creature that is almost as big as they are. but it doesn't take long before they get used to it. >> get it facing right on so they are nice in the middle and
it will focus on them. >> reporter: look at that. up close image that would be impossible if this really was a lion. >>, so the idea came because i like to try and get different perspective on the wild animals and one of the perspectives i like is to get a closeup ground level photograph of them. has a lot more impact. feels like they are coming out of the frame towards you. >> reporter: and the results are spectacular. it's doubtful you'd live if you tried to take a photo like this in person. of course, it's not without risk. that highon just walked off with several thousand dollars of equipment. will recovered the beetle cam, tooth marks included. and watch what happens when these lion cubs see it. >> we've been dying to try it out on lion cubs.
they are likely to be very inquisitive. >> reporter: amazingly, beetle cam survived this near death experience, too. back in his garage in london, will continues to refine and reinforce his invention, to make it even more lion proof for the next adventure. i'm guessing that being a wild life photographer, you've got a lot of competition. >> yeah, there's a lot of people, you know, they have really great cameras. anyone can take really good photos. you really have to think outside the box, try and push the boundaries, try to find new ways of getting new perspectives on your subject. getting something different, something that people won't just, you know, they'll look at the photos and actually paz and, you know, think about them. >> reporter: up close and personal with the beetle cam and the beast.