MCAS CHERRY POINT, Craven County -
An operation has begun to recover the Harrier jet which crashed off the coast of Wrightsville Beach on May 6, according to an official with Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point.
1st Lt. Maida Zheng, Public Affairs Officer at Cherry Point, said the Navy’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 is conducting the operation along with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2. They are attempting to recover the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing AV-8B Harrier jet that crashed off the coast of Wilmington on May 6.
A pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 542, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing ejected from a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II at approximately 5:05 p.m. off the coast of Wilmington on May 6. The pilot was rescued, attended to at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, N.C. and eventually went home.
“Navy divers perform a variety of diving salvage operations and special diving duties worldwide. For salvage and recovery efforts they specialize in locating and retrieving wreckage; conducting harbor and waterway clearance, underwater repairs and salvage operations in all environments,” Zheng said in the press release.
Zheng also said divers have conducted a preliminary survey of the scene and did not note any fuel or fluid leakage. The Harrier was not carrying any weapons at the time of the crash.
Marine Aircraft Group 14 requested the entire jet be recovered.
According to a press release from Zheng, the Harrier was the first VSTOL-capable (vertical/short takeoff and landing) jet in the Marine inventory. It has the ability to hover like a helicopter and then quickly accelerate forward to near supersonic speeds -- giving MAGTF commanders flexibility on the battlefield.
The F-35B will be replacing the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler.
The cause of the mishap is still under investigation.
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