Marine Corps To Help Families Displaced By Crash - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Marine Corps To Help Families Displaced By Crash

Posted: Updated:
PHOTO:  Facebook/Nadia Arredondo PHOTO: Facebook/Nadia Arredondo
IMPERIAL, Calif. -

The Marine Corps was cleaning up a Southern California neighborhood on Thursday and working to help families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by one of its jets that crashed in the small desert city of Imperial, officials said.

The Harrier AV-8B had taken off from the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma and was almost at his destination at Naval Air Facility El Centro when it went down Wednesday afternoon, exploding into flames. The pilot who was ejected landed in a nearby field and suffered only scrapes and bruises. There were no injuries in the neighborhood.

Two homes were destroyed and a third suffered major damage in a newer neighborhood of Imperial, a city of about 15,000 people about 90 miles east of San Diego.

Two of the families went to stay with friends or relatives while the Red Cross put up one couple in a hotel. Officials were assessing whether any of the families would need longer term help, such as rental assistance or other items, said Red Cross spokeswoman Courtney Pendleton.

Marine Capt. Anton Semelroth said the military was working with city and Red Cross officials.

"We've reached out to folks to make sure they're being taken care of now and will continue to work with them to make sure we are doing the right thing," Semelroth said.

Marine Corps officials were cleaning up the crash site and had launched an investigation, Semelroth said. However, it could take months to determine whether human error, a mechanical failure or some other reason caused the jet to crash.

Eleven-year-old Christopher Garcia was watching TV with his father and brother when he heard a frightening boom. Outside, he said, he saw a pilot in a parachute falling from the sky and what looked like a mushroom cloud of dark smoke two blocks away. He ran to the crash scene to find one house with a collapsed roof, the neighboring house on fire, and a crying woman shouting, "'That's my house!'" The boy and other witnesses said panicked neighbors were running in every direction.

Debris from the Harrier jet hit the roof of one of the houses, which was destroyed, Marine Lt Col John Ferguson said.

It was the second crash in a month of a Harrier jet from the Yuma air base.

On May 9, a pilot was able to eject safely before his jet crashed in a remote desert area near the Gila River Indian Community, south of Phoenix. No one was injured.

In July 2012, another AV-8B Harrier crashed in an unpopulated area 15 miles from the air base, which is among the busiest in the world for the Marine Corps, and is used it to train military aviators from around the nation.

"Every time we take off, safety is our biggest concern," Semelroth said. "I'm sure after the previous mishaps we've got a better process now and will take this investigation and do the same thing. We constantly try to improve the process and make it safer."

A few hours after the jet crashed in Imperial, a Navy Hornet went into the sea off San Diego as it prepared to make a late-night landing on an aircraft carrier. The pilot was ejected and listed in stable condition.

___

Hamilton reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Bob Jablon and Andrew Dalton also contributed to this report from Los Angeles, and Julie Watson from San Diego.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.>>
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    >>
  • PHOTOS: Priest Lake lots auctioned off

    PHOTOS: Priest Lake lots auctioned off

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:46 PM EDT2014-08-29 00:46:58 GMT
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. >>
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - 61 cottages sites on Priest Lake were auctioned off in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday. For years, those already living on the sites leased the land from the State of Idaho, but the State was looking to sell. Residents already living on the sites showed up on Thursday to buy them back, and many were successful. 


    >>
  • Priest Lake Auction: Saying goodbye to home

    Priest Lake Auction: Saying goodbye to home

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:50:23 GMT
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. >>
    PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - After years of obstacles for 61 Priest Lake lot lessees, the end comes on Thursday, August 28th. People who have been leasing land from the state, some more than 40 years, will find out if they get to keep their property in an auction.Back in 2010, the State of Idaho decided to divest more than 300 lake lots on Priest Lake.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Suspected gunman manages to elude police after hospital lockdown

    Suspected gunman manages to elude police after hospital lockdown

    Saturday, August 30 2014 2:13 AM EDT2014-08-30 06:13:33 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- A suspected gunman managed to elude police Friday night after a chase that took officers from the Rite Aid on N. Division to Holy Family Hospital on E. Rowan. It all started around 7:30pm Friday night, when police say a man was seen trying to steal items from the Rite Aid.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- A suspected gunman managed to elude police Friday night after a chase that took officers from the Rite Aid on N. Division to Holy Family Hospital on E. Rowan. It all started around 7:30pm Friday night, when police say a man was seen trying to steal items from the Rite Aid. >>
  • Detached garage goes up in flames

    Detached garage goes up in flames

    Saturday, August 30 2014 2:13 AM EDT2014-08-30 06:13:05 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane fire investigators are looking into what caused a detached garage to catch fire Friday night. It happened around 9:30pm at a home near the intersection of East Rowan and North Magnolia. Fire crews had the fire under control about 15 minutes after they arrived on scene, and by 10:00pm the fire was completely out.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane fire investigators are looking into what caused a detached garage to catch fire Friday night. It happened around 9:30pm at a home near the intersection of East Rowan and North Magnolia. Fire crews had the fire under control about 15 minutes after they arrived on scene, and by 10:00pm the fire was completely out.
    >>
  • Scammers pretend to be the IRS

    Scammers pretend to be the IRS

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:00:56 GMT
    It was Ben Franklin said in this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes, but it looks like you can add scammers to that saying. Every year, people pretend to be the IRS to swindle people out of their money. >>
    It was Ben Franklin said in this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes, but it looks like you can add scammers to that saying. Every year, people pretend to be the IRS to swindle people out of their money. >>