Marine Corps Harrier pilot safely ejects as jet crashes in North Carolina

May 21 (UPI) — The pilot of a AV-8B Harrier safely ejected when the jet crashed in eastern North Carolina near the world’s largest Marine Corps air station.

An AV-8B Harrier, which is part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing of the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, crashed Monday near the base in Havelock, N.C., the Marine Corps said in a news release. Havelock is 98 miles northeast of Wilmington, N.C.

The unidentified pilot was transported to Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern, N.C., for evaluation. No civilian casualties or property damage was reported.

“He actually walked off on his own accord,” Col. Todd Ferry, commanding officer at Cherry Point, told WCTI-TV. “When I got here he already was put on an ambulance and taken to Carolina East in New Bern so it sounds very positive.”

Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite said they received a call at 6:16 p.m of the crash. A fire was quickly put out.

Personnel from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing assisted the Havelock Police Department at the scene, which was cordoned off by military officials. The crash’s cause is under investigation.

Cherry Point, which includes 14,200 military personnel and civilians, is home to the Fleet Readiness Center East aircraft maintenance and repair facility.

The AV-8B Harrier II is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft with vertical short takeoff and landing built between 1981 and 2003. More than 340 Harrier II’s were produced, according to Boeing, which purchased McDonnell Douglas.

In 2007, Boeing signed a $258.5 million performance-based logistics contract to support AV-8B Harriers operated by the U.S. Marine Corps, Italy and Spain.

The AV-8B, which is the Marines’ only fixed-wing plane, will be replaced by the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

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