Pilot safely ejects in Marine Corps fighter jet crash in Arizona

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 25, 2012 11:52 PM
Pilot safely ejects in Marine Corps fighter jet crash in Arizona

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A Marine Corps fighter jet crashed during a routine training mission near a southwestern Arizona air base on Wednesday and the pilot was able to eject safely, a military official said.

The official said the AV-8B Harrier was carrying live ordnance when it slammed into the ground in a largely unpopulated area about 15 miles northwest of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. No one on the ground was injured.

The unidentified pilot of the single-seat aircraft was able to eject safely and was taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center as a precaution, said Captain Staci Reidinger, a base spokeswoman.

"Early findings say that he should be fine and there are no major injuries," Reidinger said. "He was walking around and seems to be OK."

The pilot is assigned to Marine Attack Training Squadron 203 based out of the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina, officials said. The squadron regularly conducts training exercises at the Yuma base.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

The Yuma facility is the Marine Corps' busiest air base, home to four squadrons.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Eric Beech)