Both good and bad news coming out of North Carolina this evening, FighterSweep Fans! A McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point crashed into the Atlantic Ocean late in the afternoon today. The incident occurred off the coast near Wilmington, North Carolina, and we’re happy to report the pilot ejected safely and was rescued by the Coast Guard.

A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet crashed into the Atlantic Ocean late Friday afternoon, prompting an ocean rescue of its pilot.

Town Manager Tim Owens confirmed the crash, saying the plane ended up in the water about a mile-and-a-half offshore.

A spokesman from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point said the pilot was from Marine Attack Squadron 542.

“We can confirm that a pilot 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, N.C.,” said Marine Lt. Maida Zheng.

AV-8B Harrier Crashes Off North Carolina Coast
A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier from VMA-542, like this one, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Wolff)

According to Zheng, the pilot was rescued by an H-60 Seahawk helicopter at about 5:28 p.m. The pilot, who has not been identified, is in stable condition at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune.

The Wrightsville Coast Guard team belonging to Station Wrightsville Beach picked up the pilot and military aircraft were quickly on the scene after the crash.

New Hanover County 911 dispatchers said they got a call at 4:46 reporting something crashing into the water near the 1700 block of North Lumina Avenue. Other callers reported seeing a person with a parachute fall into the water.

Connor Bishop was on the beach near access 11 when he saw a splash far out in the ocean.

“Instinctively, I thought it was a whale for some reason, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it,” Bishop said, adding that he did not hear anything from the crash.

Bishop said he had seen planes doing maneuvers above shortly before seeing the splash.

The article in its entirety can be viewed right here.
(Featured Photo by Scott Wolff)