Harrier Jet Crashes Into Arizona Backyard
During a training exercise, a US Marine Corps pilot ejected from his multi-million dollar Harrier aircraft, and watched as the jet, strapped with four 500-pound bombs plummeted toward a residential area.
The pilot was on approach for landing at Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma, about 186 miles southwest of Phoenix when the Harrier jet experienced undisclosed technical problems and crashed into someone’s backyard.
There was some structural damage to two houses and only one person was reported injured with an arm laceration.
Nearly 1300 homes were evacuated to give a military explosives team time to dismantle the bombs and remove the 300 rounds of 25mm ammunition at the crash site. Neighbors were allowed to return to their homes later in the evening Wednesday.
“I was just sitting here. It was a low soaring sound. It got real low, it was like a rumbling and I heard an explosion,” said Marita Jane Wichman, a resident who lives down the block.
The unidentified pilot was hospitalized and treated for minor injuries during ejection.
Marine Corporal Michael Nease said the Marines were investigating the accident but had not determined a cause.
This is the fourth Harrier accident in Yuma since December of 2003. The AV-8B Harrier is a light attack aircraft that has the ability to take off from a sitting position, similar to a helicopter.