YUMA, Ariz. – A Marine Harrier jet carrying four 500-pound bombs crashed Wednesday in a residential neighborhood, forcing the evacuation of 1,300 residences. There were no reports of injuries and the pilot ejected safely, authorities said.
The jet was coming in for a landing at Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma (search) when it crashed in the backyard of a home about a mile from the base, said Marine Cpl. Michael Nease. It was also carrying 300 rounds of 25-milimeter ammunition, he said.
The Marines were investigating the accident but had not determined a cause, Nease said.
Nease said two homes near the crash site sustained some structural damage after the aircraft burst into flames, he said. A one-mile radius around the crash was evacuated while a military explosives disposal team dismantled the bombs so they could be removed.
"I was just sitting here. It was a low soaring sound. It got real low, it was like a rumbling and I heard an explosion," said Marita Jane Wichman, who lives about four houses away from where the crash occurred.
The area was mostly clear of explosives by Wednesday night and most residents were allowed to return home, said Kevin Tunell, a spokesman for Yuma County's Emergency Operations Center (search).
The pilot, who was based out of Yuma and was returning from a training mission, was the only person on board and was taken to the hospital, Nease said. His injuries appeared not to be life-threatening. No one else was taken to the hospital as a result of the crash, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The AV-8B Harrier (search) is a light attack aircraft that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter.
Yuma is about 185 miles southwest of Phoenix near the Mexican border.