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US fighter pilot whose jet crashed into North Sea named

A US fighter pilot who died when his jet crashed into the North Sea off the north-east coast of England has been named by the US Air Force, as his heartbroken wife paid tribute to him.

First Lieutenant Kenneth Allen’s F15C Eagle crashed at around 9.40am on Monday while on a routine training exercise.

The American airman, known as Kage, had served with the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk since February this year and was assistant chief of weapons and tactics for the 493rd Fighter Squadron.

He is survived by his wife, Hannah Allen, and his parents.

Mrs Allen, who married her husband in a civil ceremony in February this year, described him as “the love of my life”.

Kage was perfect, never been treated with more love and respect in my life. He was my absolute best friend
Hannah Allen, widow of First Lieutenant Kenneth Allen

“He is gone,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I’m shaking, I got a priesthood blessing and he told me Kage is so sorry.

“Typical Kage to apologize even though he shouldn’t.

“No words to express how shaken I am.

“Kage was perfect, never been treated with more love and respect in my life.

“He was my absolute best friend and man Christ needs hurry up and come back so I can be with Kage again.

“Thanks for all the messages. I love you all, Kage loves you all.

“He was so Christ like in how he cared for others.

“I feel beyond blessed to have loved him in this life and can’t wait to love him for eternity. #youaremyforever”

The US Air Force said in a statement that next of kin notifications were complete.

Colonel Will Marshall, commander of 48th Fighter Wing, said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron.

“The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness.”

RAF Lakenheath (Emma Sword/PA)
RAF Lakenheath (Emma Sword/PA)

HM Coastguard, which co-ordinated the search efforts, said it had received reports that an aircraft had gone into the sea 74 nautical miles (85 miles) off the coast of Flamborough Head in Yorkshire.

Wreckage was located before the pilot was found and confirmed to be dead.

The cause of the crash is not known and an investigation is under way.

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

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.

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