updated 1/13/2005 11:31:25 AM ET 2005-01-13T16:31:25

A U.S. Marine Corps pilot sustained minor injuries Thursday when he ejected from a Harrier fighter jet that later crashed into the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra, Navy officials said.

The aircraft, which was based aboard the Navy helicopter carrier USS Bonhomme Richard, was on a routine training mission when it went down approximately 45 miles west of Sumatra. A Seahawk helicopter dispatched from the ship picked up the pilot shortly afterward, the officials said.

The cause of the crash, which occurred about 7:30 p.m. local time, is under investigation.

The USS Bonhomme Richard is one of about two dozen U.S. military ships taking part in tsunami relief efforts in the region.

It was the second crash this week of a U.S. military aircraft in the region.

A Navy Seahawk helicopter also taking part in the relief effort crashed near the crowded airport in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh on Monday. Officials said none of the passengers was killed.

Foster, an NBC producer at the Pentagon, and Reuters news service contributed to this report.


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