This is the fourth US military aircraft lost in May, and the latest in over a dozen crashes over the past year.
A Marine AV-8B Harrier belonging to 2nd Marine Air Wing, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, crashed near Havelock, North Carolina, on Monday. According to officials, the pilot ejected safely and was taken to Carolina East Medical Center for treatment. An investigation is underway, and no civilian casualties were reported.
The Harrier is the fourth aircraft crash in May, with an F-16 fighter jet crashing into a warehouse near March Air Reserve Base, located just outside of Riverside, California just days prior. Although signs indicated that the aircraft may have been carrying live munitions in addition to its highly volatile hydrazine fuel, the pilot reportedly ejected safely and was transported to a local hospital. Although there was a fire and significant property damage, no civilian casualties were reported. The fighter jet was assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing based out of Sioux Falls South Dakota.
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Other plane incidents include a T-6A Texan II turboprop training aircraft that crashed near Lake Waurika in Oklahoma after leaving Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas 35 miles away. Both the pilot and co-pilot are said to have ejected safely.
Less than a week later, a T-45C Goshawk training jet crashed inside Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas. The Navy instructor and student sustained minor injuries, ejecting from the craft before it crashed just short of the runway inside the airfield perimeter fence, and were taken to a local hospital. Although details are sparse, the Naval Safety Center described it as a “Class A” incident, which is a designation that involves at least $2 million in damages.
No information yet as to why so many planes are crashing across the country. The Air Force suffered numerous aircraft crashes over the past year, including a different USMC Harrier that flew out of control and crashed shortly after takeoff at Djibouti Ambouli International Airport during an exercise in 2018.