Friday, May 06, 2016

McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, MAS542, United States Marine Corps: Accident occurred May 06, 2016 off Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina

MCAS CHERRY POINT, Craven County -

The pilot from Cherry Point who was involved in Friday's crash of a Harrier jet off the coast of Wrightsville Beach is now home.

In a press release Saturday morning from 1stLt. Maida Zheng, 2nd MAW Public Affairs Officer at MCAS Cherry Point, it was announced the pilot has been released from Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and "is safely recovering at home."

Zheng also released new information about the incident. The pilot, who is with Marine Attack Squadron 542, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, ejected from an AV-8B Harrier at approximately 5:05 p.m. off the coast of Wilmington on Friday. The pilot, whose name has not been released, inflated a personal flotation device, equipment Zheng said pilots wear during flight. The pilot was also able to inflate and board into a life raft until he was picked up by a H-60 Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 at approximately 5:28 p.m.

Zheng also said in the press release that efforts are underway to recover the aircraft. The H-60 is based out of NAS Norfolk, Va., which conducts missions that include vertical replenishment, search and rescue, air-sea rescue and anti-surface warfare. The group is currently operating off of the USS Wasp in support of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to local law enforcement and medical personnel, to include our U.S. Navy and Coast Guard counterparts for their swift action in rescuing and aiding our pilot."

An investigation into what caused the crash is still ongoing.

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