NEWS
15/06/2020 11:22 BST | Updated 15/06/2020 18:37 BST

Body Of Pilot Found After US Air Force Fighter Jet Crashes Into The North Sea

The F-15C Eagle, from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, crashed near Middlesbrough.

The pilot of a US fighter aircraft that crashed off the north-east coast of England on Monday morning has been found dead, the RAF has announced.

The F-15C Eagle, from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, crashed at around 9.40am with one person on board.

He has yet to be named by authorities.

Announcing the news, RAF Lakenheath said: “This is a tragic loss for the 48th Fighter Wing community, and our deepest condolences go out to the pilot’s family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron.”

 

The 48th Fighter Wing said earlier on Monday in a statement: “At the time of the accident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board.”

The F15C, a single-seater air defence fighter, is a model of jet that has been used by the US Air Force since 1979.

RAF spokesman Martin Tinworth said the aircraft has an “exceptional flight safety record”.

HM Coastguard said in a statement that it received reports of a plane “going down into the sea 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head” on the Yorkshire coast.

“The HM Coastguard helicopter from Humberside has been sent along with Bridlington and Scarborough RNLI lifeboats,” a spokesman said.

“Following a Mayday broadcast by HM Coastguard, other vessels nearby are heading to the area.”

RAF Lakenheath is the “largest US Air Force-operated base in England and the only US air forces in Europe F15 fighter wing”, its website said.

Ryan Fletcher via Getty Images
Two US F-15 fighter jets, pictured here in 2013. 

The 48th Fighter Wing, which has operated from the base since 1960, has more than 4,500 “active-duty military members”.

Its mission statement is to “provide worldwide responsive combat air power and support”.

In October 2014, an F15D fighter jet based at RAF Lakenheath crashed in fields near Spalding in Lincolnshire.

The pilot ejected safely, suffering only minor injuries, and no-one on the ground was hurt.

A US Air Force investigation found that the crash was caused by the “angle of attack” of the aircraft and “imperfections” in the assembly of the jet’s nose cap.

In October 2015, US pilot Major Taj Sareen died when his F-18 Hornet jet crashed on farmland near RAF Lakenheath.

A subsequent investigation found the 34-year-old did not report problems with his aircraft before take-off.