Military jet crashes in Arizona: Marine pilot ejects safely

Military jet crashes in Arizona: A AV-8B Harrier jet crashed in the desert Friday. The military reports the US Marine pilot of the jet only received a cut on his nose.

A Marine Corps Harrier jet crashed on tribal land south of Phoenix on Friday, but authorities said the pilot was able to eject safely.

Television footage showed the charred wreckage scattered in several pieces in a remote desert area on the Gila River Indian Community.

Parts of the plane still were smoldering an hour after the crash, which occurred about 2:30 p.m. MST. The pilot of the AV-8B Harrier ejected and was found conscious about two miles southwest of the crash site.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the wreckage was near the Sacaton Rest Area, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix.

The AV-8B Harrier was based out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, but base officials referred all calls to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.

Miramar officials released a statement Friday night stating that an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the crash.

A tweet posted on Miramar's website read: "Thankfully the pilot is safe and doing well."

A spokesman for the Gila River Indian Community said the pilot was the only person aboard and suffered only a nose laceration.

The pilot, whose name wasn't released, was taken to a hospital for observation.

Tribal police Detective Robert Hawkes said the crash scene was secured for more than a mile "so any evidence is kept intact." He said the cause of the crash was not yet known.

Among the most recent Harrier jet crashes: In July 2010, a US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier crashed in an unpopulated area of the Ocala National Forest in Florida. And in March 2011, a US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier deployed with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD-4) crashed into the water during takeoff for a routine training flight while operating in the Arabian Sea. And in July 2012, a US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier crashed shortly after take off for a routine training flight over an unpopulated area near Felicity, Calif.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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