A Marine Corps Harrier jet reportedly went down on tribal lands belonging to the Gila River Indian Community. The crash is believed to have occurred at about 2:30 pm MST.
According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor, the wreckage is located near the Sacaton Rest Area. The crash site is approximately 40 miles to the south of Phoenix, Ariz.
What was left of the plane was smoldering for about an hour after crash. Images from the air show several pieces of the military jet scattered about the desert landscape.
A statement released by Marine Corps Air Station Miramar officials said that an investigation will be launched in order to determine the exact cause of the jet’s crash.
Details as to how and why the plane crashed are sketchy at the moment. The scene was secure a short-while after the jet’s crash landing.
The identity of the pilot is being withheld at the moment. What is known about the unidentified individual is that he suffered only minor injuries in the crash. Luckily the man was able to eject safely from the cockpit before the plane hit the ground.
— Erik Larson (@Erik_L1965) May 10, 2014
Allegedly a laceration to the nose was the only physical trauma sustained in the incident.
As a precaution, the unidentified pilot was transported to a hospital for observation.
The Mimamar posted a tweet on social media about the crash, sharing their thankfulness that the pilot managed to escape largely unharmed:
Update: Harrier departed from MCAS Yuma. Thankfully the pilot is safe and doing well. A thorough investigation will be conducted.
— MCAS Miramar, 3rdMAW (@MCASMiramarCA) May 9, 2014
Even though details about the crash are limited at the moment, Tribal police Detective Robert Hawkes shared that the scene had been secured for a mile surrounding the location. He said this action was taken so that “any evidence is kept intact”.
Hopefully as the investigation continues, more details will emerge as to exactly what happened.
It's certainly fortunate that the pilot in question escaped with his life. Had he not ejected in time, the outcome would have likely been far grimmer than it was.
Image via YouTube