US military Harrier jet crashes into California neighbourhood homes

Pilot was forced to eject to safety before the jet crashed into a row of houses

A US military Harrier jet crashed in a residential area in a southern California desert community, smashing into one home and setting another two on fire. 

The pilot of the jet managed to eject safely before it hit at least one house, completely demolishing the roof of the property in Imperial, a city approximately 90 miles east of San Diego.

Shaun Penniman told KGTV he heard “like a pop and a whistle” just before the jet crashed. “And right when I looked up is when I saw the pilot eject," he said.

Despite the jet smashing into at least one house and setting the other two on fire in a row of tightly spaced homes, First Lieutenant Jose Negrete said no one on the ground was hurt.

He said the pilot was taken to hospital only for evaluation. Fellow Marine spokesman, Lance Corporal Christopher Johns, said the jet was a Harrier from Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona.

In a statement, the Marine Corps said an investigation into the incident had been launched.