BBC News

US military Harrier jet crashes into California homes

media captionAmateur pictures captured the aftermath of the crash

A US military jet has crashed into homes in the California desert, about 90 miles (144km) east of San Diego.

Television footage showed at least one home on fire on a residential street in the city of Imperial, following the crash on Wednesday evening.

The pilot of the AV-8B Harrier jet ejected safely, and has been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The US Marine Corps said eight homes had been evacuated but no-one on the ground was hurt.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the crash, it said in a statement..

Resident Adriana Ramos, 45, said her house shook when the plane crashed.

"It felt like a bomb was thrown in the backyard,'' she said.

Scene 'chaotic'

Another witness, Jose Santos, said he was driving nearby when he saw the plane flying "really low".

"It just fell down," he said.

image copyrightAP
image captionNone of the residents of the homes are believed to have been injured

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.

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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