Written by Staff Writer
05 Jun, 2014 | 10:21 am
A US military jet has crashed into homes in the California desert, about 90 miles (144km) east of San Diego.
Television reports show at least one home on fire on a residential street in the city of Imperial, following the crash on Wednesday evening.
The pilot ejected safely, and has been transported to a local hospital.
Cpl Melissa Lee of the US Marine Corps told the BBC the AV-8B Harrier jet stationed in Yuma, Arizona, had crashed, hitting “civilian homes”.
She said the search and rescue operation was continuing and there were no details yet about whether anyone on the ground was hurt.
A Marine Corps statement said an investigation had been launched.
Local resident Adriana Ramos, 45, said her house shook when the plane crashed.
“It felt like a bomb was thrown in the backyard,” she said. “The whole house moved.”
Ms Ramos said she fled with her four-year-old granddaughter and 10-year-old daughter.
Another witness, Jose Santos, said he was driving nearby when he saw the plane flying “really low”.
“It just fell down,” he said.
Mr Santos said he sped toward the crash site and saw the pilot, who had parachuted to the ground, being helped by police and local residents.
“He didn’t look like he was injured. He was rolling from side to side,” he said.
Mr Santos added that the scene of the crash was chaotic with people running in every direction. He said two homes were on fire and it was unclear if anyone was inside.
It was the second crash in a month of a Harrier jet from the Yuma air base in Arizona, AP news agency reported.
On 9 May, a pilot ejected safely before his plane crashed in a remote desert area near the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, south of Phoenix. No-one was hurt.
In 2008 a US military jet crashed into a residential area of San Diego killing four people. The pilot also ejected before the crash.
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