USAF Pilot Missing After F-15C Crashes into Ocean Off British Coast

DOLGELLAU, WALES - FEBRUARY 16: A United States Air Force F-15 fighter jet based at RAF L
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A search and rescue operation is underway in the North Sea, off the north-east coast of England after U.S. jet fighter crashed on Monday morning during a routine training mission, its pilot reported missing.

The F-15C Eagle fighter jet of the 48th Fighter Wing had launched from the RAF Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom on Monday morning, and according to a defence press release crashed at approximately 0940 BST (0440 EST). The statement said the aircraft was taking part in a routine training mission and had one pilot onboard.

No cause of the crash, nor the fate of the pilot are presently known but a search and rescue operation involving helicopters and ships is underway.

RAF Lakenheath is one of several Second-World-War era airbases in UK territory predominantly used for U.S. military forces in Europe. While the 48th ‘Liberty’ Wing is presently equipped with F15-C jets, it was reported to be one of the front-line squadrons in line to be converted to the new F-35 jets. The base is approximately 80 miles north of London, in the county of Suffolk.

Monday’s crash is not the first for Lakenheath, a major U.S. base with some 4,000 personnel. In October 2015, a pilot was killed when his F-18 crashed near the cathedral city of Ely. It was reported at the time the aircraft was part of the U.S. Marine Corps returning to the United States from the Middle East, using Lakenheath as a stop-off.

In October 2014, another F-15 crashed, hitting a field, with the pilot able to eject to safety before impact. In 2014, four U.S. personel on a low-flying exercise were killed near the base when their helicopter struck the ground.


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