Harrier AV-8B jet

The US Marine Corps’ (USMC) AV-8B Harrier jet, stationed at Yuma air base in Arizona, crashed into a suburb in Southern California on Wednesday, leaving at least one civilian home on fire on a residential street in Imperial City.

The reason for the crash is unknown and reports on civilian injuries remain undetermined.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Miramar reported that the pilot successfully ejected the jet soon after the incident and landed about 200m away from the crash site.

Officials from Imperial City and the USMC are currently conducting clean-up operations and evacuated people from eight homes, three of which were severely damaged.

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An eye witness Adriana Ramo told the Associated Press: "It felt like a bomb was thrown in the backyard of the house. The whole house moved."

"It felt like a bomb was thrown in the backyard of the house. The whole house moved."

This is the second crash of a Harrier jet in less than a month, after a similar incident on 9 May.

In a previous incident in 2008, a US military jet rammed into a residential area of San Diego and killed four people, with the pilot successfully escaping the crash.

Developed by BAE Systems and Boeing, the Harrier II Plus (AV-8B) vertical / short take-off and landing ground-attack aircraft incorporates head-up and head-down displays and a digital moving map.

Currently operational with the USMS, the Spanish Navy and the Italian Navy, the jet also features day and night operability, inertial navigation system and a hands-on throttle and stick system.

Image: A US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet. Photo: courtesy of Voytek S.

Defence Technology