Military jet crashes in Arizona desert; pilot OK

KSN News (file)

PHOENIX (AP) — 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 around 3 p.m.

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

A Marine spokesperson in San Diego confirmed the aircraft was based out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. However, MCAS Yuma officials referred all calls about the crash to the Miramar base in California, which didn’t immediately provide any information.

A tweet posted on the Miramar base’s website read: “Harrier departed from MCAS Yuma. Thankfully the pilot is safe and doing well. A thorough investigation will be conducted.”

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.

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