The U.S. Navy has temporarily grounded military flights in Djibouti and canceled a major exercise days after it began following two aviation accidents there this week.
Naval Forces Central Command on Thursday put air operations "on hold" and called off the remainder of the Defense Department's Alligator Dagger exercise, according to a NavCent release.
The pilot was able to eject and was treated for injuries by the expeditionary medical facility at Camp Lemonnier, officials said. It's not clear what prompted the pilot's ejection.
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NAVCENT said members of the CH-53 aircrew were not injured, and the helicopter "has remained at the landing site pending additional assessment."
"Both incidents are currently under a joint investigation, and we will provide more information when able. A safety stand-down has been initiated for all exercise participants," the release said.
According to the Defense Department, the annual Alligator Dagger amphibious warfare exercise is the "largest regional amphibious combat rehearsal" used to integrate and synchronize Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51, 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, with NavCent and special operations forces units.
The two-week war drill began early this week.
"Routine operations for other units assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command are unaffected by this cancellation, and U.S. naval personnel continue to conduct maritime security operations throughout the region," the release said.
The news of the stand-down follows two additional accidents in recent days in the U.S.