A Marine Corps Cherry Point aircraft crashed Monday evening just miles from the base.
Colonel Todd Ferry, head of Cherry Point, said that the pilot ejected from the aircraft as it went down about 6 p.m. in the Croatan Forest near the base.
According to Craven County EMS Director Stanly Kite, the single-seat aircraft went down along Pine Cliff Road at 6:16 p.m., just outside the Cherry Branch subdivision. Pine Cliff Road is off Ferry Road (Rt. 306) near Harlowe.
The pilot was taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center in an ambulance, Ferry said, but “He was walking. He walked to the ambulance.”
It is not yet known what caused the Harrier AV8B to go down. Ferry said an investigation will begin in the morning.
Pine Cliff Road is located off Rt. 306.
Earlier reports suggested the crash resulted in a fire, but Ferry said there was no fire – only smoke. “We wet it down,” he said.
He said that the Harlowe Fire Department, Sheriff’s office and highway patrol have been on the scene. A security detail will guard the jet’s remains over night.
“It looked like there had been a controlled burn in the area,” Ferry said of the spot where the jet crashed. He added that trees had already been knocked over by last September’s hurricane, and said the resulting clearing helped.
“According to eyewitnesses the plane was flying a normal pattern,” he said, adding that it had not been at a very high altitude when the accident took place.