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Marine Harrier Jet Crashes In Imperial Valley Neighborhood

Courtesy @AbelH3 on Twitter / 10News

Photo of a military aircraft crash on June 4, 2014 in Imperial Valley, California.

A Marine jet crashed into a residential area in the tiny desert community of Imperial on Wednesday, hitting at least one house and setting at least two on fire but no one was injured, authorities said.

Despite the explosive crash into a row of tightly spaced houses, Marine 1st Lt. Jose Negrete said no people on the ground were hurt. The pilot had ejected safely and was taken to a hospital only for evaluation, Negrete said.

The official Twitter account for MCAS Miramar provides update on status of pilot after a Marine jet crashed into an Imperial neighborhood, June 5, 2014.

The Harrier AV-8B went down at 4:20 p.m. in the city of about 15,000 near the U.S.-Mexico border, about 90 miles east of San Diego. Witnesses described an explosion and thick plumes of smoke.

The house that suffered the brunt of the damage had a missing roof but still had walls and windows intact.

Christopher Garcia, 11, was watching television two blocks away with his father and brother when he heard an explosion that "felt like an earthquake." He hurried outside to see a pilot parachuting into a field about 200 yards from the crash.

"A mushroom cloud of black and red smoke" rose above the house with the collapsed roof, he said. The garage of the house next door was on fire.

Adriana Ramos, 45, whose home is less than a block from the crash, said her "whole house moved."

"It felt like a bomb was thrown in the backyard," Ramos said.

Ramos fled with her 4-year-old granddaughter and 10-year-old daughter, who both cried at the sight outside.

Another witness, Jose Santos, was driving nearby and saw the plane flying "really low." Then "it just fell down," he said.

Santos sped toward the crash site. On the way, he saw the pilot who had parachuted to the ground.

"He didn't look like he was injured. He was rolling from side to side," and a police officer and others were helping him, Santos said.

At the crash site, there was chaos as people ran in every direction, he said. The two homes were on fire, and it was unclear if anyone was inside.

The plane was from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, said Cpl. Melissa Lee, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. She had no details about what might have caused the accident.

This was the second crash in a month of a Harrier jet from the Yuma air base.

On May 9, a pilot was able to eject safely before his jet crashed in a remote desert area near the Gila River Indian Community, south of Phoenix. No one was injured.

And in July 2012, another AV-8B Harrier crashed in an unpopulated area 15 miles from the air base, which is among the busiest in the world for the Marine Corps and is used it to train military aviators from around the nation.

A Marine spokesman said that updates on Wednesday's crash would be released on Twitter: @MCASMiramarCA.


DVIDS: Report On Marine Harrier Crash

A video from Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System reports on a Marine Corps pilot who ejected from his Harrier fighter jet before it crashed into a southern California neighborhood, June 4, 2014.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 5, 2014 at 7:10 a.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

It seems as though most times a tragedy like this happens, the pilot manages to eject themselves to safety.

There must be good training for ejecting yourself from a crashing plan in the military.

That's very good for the military pilots, but the people on the ground don't have that protection.

It seems like the risk is much higher for people who live near the flight zones of these planes than for the military folks themselves who are heavily trained to survive these attacks.

Now granted, these accidents can never be 100% prevented and I do realize there is a "price to pay for freedom". This was in a rural area and nobody was hurt. But, I can't help but to think of the Miramar crash several years ago when people were not so lucky - they were killed while the pilot ejected to safety.

What ensued was a cold chilling silence from the military who refused to be informative to the victim's families or the public, and a very defensive military when suggestions were made that Miramar should be relocated as its surrounding area becomes increasingly densely populated.

It seems to be the same bullish defensiveness you get from the NRA and gun industry any time someone is killed in a shooting - an intolerance to even discuss change.

While not directly related to this particular tragedy as I pointed out above, I think this tragedy should serve as a reminder that we do have a busy military installment at Miramar where these flights are occurring over much more densely populated areas than this is.

It's another tragedy waiting to happen.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 5, 2014 at 7:11 a.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

Correction, accidents, not attacks. Sorry it's early.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 5, 2014 at 9:54 a.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

start looking for defective ( recycled) parts use to repair some of the systems

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