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Military Jet Crashes During Landing Attempt On Coronado-Based Carrier

Credit: Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon / U.S. Air Force

Two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Squadron 31 fly a combat patrol over Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2008.

Two warplanes with San Diego-area connections have crashed within hours of each other—on land and at sea—prompting investigations Thursday into what caused the non-fatality mishaps.

The first crash involved a U.S. Marine Corps. AV-8B Harrier and occurred in the city of Imperial shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday; the second, involving a U.S. Navy FA-18E Hornet, happened around 10 p.m. off the coast of Southern California, according to military officials.

The Yuma, Ariz.-stationed Harrier, which is attached to the Miramar-based Third Marine Aircraft Wing, crashed into a residential neighborhood in Imperial, destroying three homes but injuring no one on the ground, according to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar's public affairs office. The pilot ejected before impact and suffered minor injuries.

According to Imperial city officials, eight homes were evacuated following the crash, including the three that were destroyed. Local authorities and military officials were conducting cleanup operations.

The Hornet crashed while attempting to land on the Coronado-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, said U.S. Pacific Fleet officials. It's pilot also ejected before impact and was in stable condition, fleet officials said in a statement early Thursday.

The jet has not been recovered.

Due to the crash, all other aircraft previously scheduled to land aboard the Carl Vinson were re-routed until further notice to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, the ship's homeport.

The Carl Vinson is currently off the coast of Southern California conducting training exercises. It was from that vessel that Osama bin Laden was buried at sea in May 2011.

The crash in Imperial was the second of its kind in less than a month involving a Yuma, Ariz.-stationed Harrier attached to Miramar's 3rd MAW. On May 9, a Harrier crashed on an unpopulated area of the Gila Indian Reservation, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix. Like Wednesday's crash, the pilot in the May 9 incident survived and no one on the ground was injured.

Credit: Courtesy @AbelH3 on Twitter / 10News

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

According to the Yuma Sun, the two latest crashes are part of a total of 11 Harrier crashes that have occurred in southwest Arizona and California since 1996. In those 11 crashes, two pilots died and two people on the ground suffered minor injuries.

The Harrier, known for being able to take-off and land vertically, which gives it the moniker of Jump Jet, is a subsonic jet aircraft that is being phased out. The U.S. military says the British-developed Harrier has reached its natural life cycle after being in use since the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 5, 2014 at 7:16 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 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 accidents.

Now granted, these accidents can never be 100% prevented and I do realize there is a "price to pay for freedom". This Imperial accident 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.

Both of these near-misses 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 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | June 5, 2014 at 9:53 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

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

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