Mlitary Plane Crashes Into Dense Southern California Neighborhood, Pilot And Residents Miraculously Safe

A military plane, while on a routine sortie, crashed into Imperial Valley, a dense Southern California neighborhood. The plane’s pilot had ejected safely, but the plane crashed into the residential area and destroyed three homes.

The Yuma-stationed AV-8B Harrier jet went down at Fonzie Avenue and Cross Road, about 115 miles east of San Diego, the area known as Imperial Valley, according to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma officials. The plane crashed at around 4:20 pm local time.

The crash was described as “quite fiery.”

“I saw the pilot eject, then his parachute open. Then, I saw the plane start wobbling and plundering down,” said Elias Alarcon, a resident of Imperial Valley and a witness to the crash.

The Military Plane Destroyed Three Homes

Apparently the pilot must have tried to steer the jet ’til the very last possible moment.

“I saw the pilot hit the pavement really hard. When I got there he was unconscious. I thought he was maybe dead,” said Alarcon, reported Fox 5 San Diego.

This indicates that the pilot must have ejected well below the prescribed height that ensures a safe landing. The pilot was rushed to the hospital for evaluation according to MCAS Miramar’s statement. His condition is not yet known.

Despite his valiant efforts, the unidentified pilot couldn’t help the plane from going into Imperial Valley. The Harrier Jet crashed with a loud bang and immediately burst into flames. Fortunately, the three houses that the plane crashed on are confirmed to have been unoccupied at that time, reported Huffington Post.

To ensure the safety of the civilians from any possible post-crash latent explosions, law enforcement officials who responded to 911 calls, evacuated 8 neighboring homes. The residents of the home were escorted out of their premises, but were allowed to return once the preliminary investigation confirmed no immediate danger.

The Harrier AV-8B jet had taken off from Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma and was almost at his destination at Naval Air Facility El Centro when the pilot ejected and the jet crashed for reasons not immediately clear, said Marine Lt Col John Ferguson. Describing the incident, Ferguson said, debris from the Harrier jet hit the roof of one of the houses, which was destroyed. The subsequent explosion and fire destroyed another house and badly damaged one more.

Harrier Jets aren’t the safest military jets and multiple crashes have occurred in the recent past, including one that happened less than a month ago in an unpopulated area of the Gila River Indian Community southeast of Phoenix. Perhaps it is time for the military to take a closer look at the crashes and determine if these jets are indeed safe and reliable.

[Image Credit | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images, KTLA, ABELH3, Chelcey Adami/The Imperial Valley Press]