On June 15th, a US F-15C Eagle fighter jet crashed during a training mission off the coast of England.
The pilot died, and his body was later recovered, officials cited by NBC said.
“A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle crashed at approximately 0940 today in the North Sea. The aircraft was from the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board. The cause of the crash as well as the status of the pilot are unknown at this time, and U.K. Search and Rescue have been called to support,” the initial statement said.
The UK’s Coastguard was coordinating the search response and said it received reports of “an aeroplane going down into the sea 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head.”
The pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing has been located, and confirmed deceased.
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.https://t.co/GwCWFwImaS
— RAF Lakenheath (@48FighterWing) June 15, 2020
The cause of the crash remains unknown and the pilot is not being identified until their next of kin is informed, according to Col. Will Marshall, commander of the 48th Fighter Wing.
Calling the incident “a tragic loss,” Marshall said that “our deepest condolences go out to the pilot’s family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron.”
US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson tweeted his condolences.
“It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the loss of our Airman today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and U.S. forces in the UK,” he said.
F15C lost over N.Sea today. Source tells me 493rd Sqn. More KC135s heading out from RAF Mildenhall to join search and tt pilot is still missing (not confirmed) #F15C #RAFLakenheath pic.twitter.com/uUMgec1Pns
— Alexander Dunlop (@dunlopalex) June 15, 2020
In addition aircraft spotters on social media have also tracked U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle, CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor, MC-130 special operations transport, RC-135W reconnaissance, C-17 transport, KC-10A Extender tanker, and B-52 heavy bomber aircraft in the vicinity of the crash.
Alert for Foreign Military Contact in London FIR: "FAF902" 201 [Boeing E-3F Sentry] of French Air Force France at 36055ft AMSL Squawking 3317
— EGTTinfo (@LondonFIRinfo) June 15, 2020
After the crash, a French Air Force E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft flying over Poland flew west, toward the North Sea, possibly to act as a backup or relieve the NATO AWACS on-station if necessary.
Although an older jet, the F-15 has a record of 104 shutdowns to 0 losses in air-to-air combat.
Three F-15s have been lost to air defense fire: one Saudi jet was downed by anti-aircraft fire in 2018 and two F-15E Strike Eagles were lost to ground fire during the 1991 Gulf War.
The U.S. Air Force has lost three fighter jets in the past month.
On March 15th, a F-22 Raptor crashed at Eglin Air Force Base.
On March 20th, a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter also crashed at Eglin.
On June 9th, a F-35 experienced a landing gear collapse after landing, causing unspecified damage to the aircraft.
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