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RAF Lakenheath jet crash: Pilot found dead

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The pilot of a US fighter jet which crashed into the North Sea has died.

The US Air Force F-15C Eagle, from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, crashed at about 9.40am today (June 15).

It went down 74 nautical miles off the East Yorkshire coast.

An F-15C Eagle jet aircraft in flight (36661358)
An F-15C Eagle jet aircraft in flight (36661358)

RAF Lakenheath has confirmed the pilot has been found and was deceased.

A spokesman said: "The name of the pilot will not be released until all next of kin notifications have been made.

"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."

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

The fighter jet is part of the US Air Force 493rd Fighter Squadron - the only F-15C squadron in Europe.

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

The 48th Fighter Wing, which has operated from RAF Lakenheath since 1960, has more than 4,500 'active-duty military members'.

Matt Hancock, West Suffolk MP, said: “This accident is a terrible tragedy and I am desperately sorry to learn of the pilot's death.

"I pay tribute to this brave airman who served his country and to the search and recover personnel that were deployed to the scene.

"Having flown with 48th fighter wing, I know what a community it is, and I know what a blow this will be to the community in Lakenheath, military colleagues, and of course the pilot’s family.

"On behalf of all residents of West Suffolk, I want to thank every member of USAF based locally for their service and their sacrifice in defence of our freedom, which we value so highly.

"My thoughts are with you all."