Marine aircraft crashes in Imperial neighborhood
Flames shoot from the inside of a house in the small community of Imperial after a Marine Corps Harriet jet crashes into a residential neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, damaging several homes. When the flames are put out, the fuselage of the jet can be seen strewn across a residential street. The pilot was able to safely eject from the aircraft before it hit the ground. And after looking at the carnage, it seems most miraculous to hear Marine Corps officials say the following:
“There are no injuries reported at this time,” said Lt. Jose Negrete of the U.S. Marine Corps. “However, civilian houses were impacted. A damage assessment is currently being conducted. As you can see behind me, we are working with local authorities and an investigation is going to take place to determine the cause of the incident.”
Imperial, a town of about 15,000 people, is located 90 miles east of San Diego. The crash sends a thick plume of dark smoke into the desert sky. The Marine Corps says the jet was stationed at the nearby Yuma Marine Corps Air Station. Although it has not been confirmed by Imperial officials, neighbors say they believe the people who lived in the house on fire weren’t home at the time of the mishap.
“Yes, people were living there, but according to things that I’ve heard and that I’ve seen, nobody was actually hurt,” said Imperial resident Debbie Medina. “Nobody was in the house. But it’s not confirmed, but nobody – as far as I’m concerned – was there. Everybody was just outside and you really couldn’t see because there was so much black smoke coming out. After (firefighters) calmed it down, you could see the plane and it was on top of the house.”
The woman speaking says her father was BBQ-ing in the family backyard when he saw the jet fall out of the sky.
“And then (my dad) came running in the house and was like ‘look, look! They plane is going down, the guy ejected from the plane!'”
Harrier jets – which are built by the British company Rolls Royce – are different in that they can take off vertically like a helicopter. After ascending into the skies vertically, the Harrier can then take off at supersonic speeds. It is unknown what caused the Harrier jet in the Imperial crash to go down. In December of 2008, a Marine Corps jet went down in a University City neighborhood, killing four members of the same family.