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RAF Lakenheath aircraft crashes into North Sea

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An fighter jet based at RAF Lakenheath has crashed in the North Sea while on a training exercise off the north-east coast of England.

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

The status of the pilot is unknown with search and rescue teams now working to find the pilot and the aircraft.

Col Will Marshall, commander of the Liberty Wing, said: "Search and rescue efforts are currently under way, but the pilot of the aircraft is still missing. We will provide updates as they become available, while prioritising respect and consideration for the pilot's family.

"We are extremely grateful for the timely response of our UK counterparts in the support of these recovery efforts and remain hopeful that our Liberty Wing airman will be located and recovered."

The F-15C, 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”.

RAF Lakenheath.
RAF Lakenheath.

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.”