Pilot’s body found after US fighter jet crash

A US fighter jet pilot has been found dead after crashing into the North Sea off Britain in a tragic training accident.

The F-15C jet was discovered 136km offshore, with the US air force confirming they had found a body early on Tuesday Australian time.

He was part of the 48th Fighter Wing, which is based at Lakenheath in the UK, 90 minutes drive north of London.

The pilot was flying as part of a four-jet formation before the crash, but the cause of the accident was not yet known.

 

"It is with a very heart that I confirm the pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle has been located and confirmed deceased," Colonel Will Marshall, of the US Air Force, said.

"Out of respect for the family and their privacy at this incredibly difficult time, we will not be naming the pilot until all next of kin notifications have been completed."

Colonel Marshall added that "this is a tragic loss for all of the 48th Fighter Wing community."

"Our deepest condolences go out to the pilot's family and the 493rd fighter squadron."

The crash happened at 9.40am local time on Monday (6.40pm Monday AEST), with a major search conducted.

The discovery of the pilot's body was announced early on Tuesday morning Australian time.

A British coast guard helicopter and search and rescue boats were dispatched as soon as details of the crash began to emerge.

 

There were some hopes that the pilot may have ejected before the crash, which saved a pilot in a previous accident.

A mayday call was put out and other boats in the area were told to scramble to the area, about 130km off the UK coast from Yorkshire.

The 48th Fighter Wing had been posting images and videos of their exercises over the beaches of Normandy in recent days, with the UK enjoying calm summer weather.

The F15C is a model of jet that has been used by the US Air Force since 1979.

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.

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 takeoff.

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

 

 

Originally published as Pilot's body found after US fighter jet crash


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