US Marine Corps Harrier jet from USS Iwo Jima crashes in East Africa

Posted at 8:06 AM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 11:20:08-04

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Nov. 24, 2017) A U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162 (Reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) as part of combined composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) in the Atlantic Ocean. The exercise allows all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to join and train in realistic scenarios so the MEU as a whole can meet its pre-deployment training program objectives prior to their upcoming deployment at sea. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jon Sosner/Released)

A United States Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jet crashed in Djibouti, in East Africa, on Tuesday, according to two defense officials. The pilot was able to eject and is currently being medically evaluated.

US Naval Forces Central Command, which helps oversee US operations in the region, confirmed the crash on Tuesday, saying it occurred during takeoff from Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport after 4:00 p.m. local time.

“Doctors said the pilot was in stable condition while being evaluated at Camp Lemonnier’s expeditionary medical facility,” Cdr. Bill Urban a spokesman for US Naval Forces Central Command told CNN

“There are no reports of injuries to personnel on the ground nor damage to infrastructure at the airport. The airport is open,” Urban said, adding that the cause of the accident is under investigation.

The aircraft had been embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima.

A defense official said that the jet was supporting Alligator Dagger, a training exercise in international waters off the coast of Djibouti.

The United States has a large military presence in Djibouti based at Camp Lemonnier where some 4,000 US personnel are stationed.