Wing commander hopeful pilot will be ‘located and recovered’ after F15C Eagle from RAF Lakenheath crashes into the North Sea

PUBLISHED: 16:04 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:04 15 June 2020

Col. Will Marshall says RAF Lakenheath are hopeful that the pilot will be recovered.  Picture: RAF Lakenheath/PA Wire

Col. Will Marshall says RAF Lakenheath are hopeful that the pilot will be recovered. Picture: RAF Lakenheath/PA Wire

A search and rescue mission is underway after an F-15C Eagle from RAF Lakenheath crashed into the North Sea – with the squadron’s commander hopeful the pilot will be “located and recovered”.

F15 similar to that crashed into the North Sea today. Picture; STEVE WELLSF15 similar to that crashed into the North Sea today. Picture; STEVE WELLS

Colonel Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing Commander at RAF Lakenheath, said the pilot of the aircraft is still missing after the fighter jet crashed off the north-east coast of England this morning.

He said: “The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and search and rescue efforts are currently underway.

“But the pilot of the aircraft is still missing.”

The 48th Fighter Wing jet was carrying one pilot on board and was seen going down into the sea 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head, just south of Scarborough.

Colonel Marshall said that the 48th Fighter Wing will publish updates as they come available, while prioritising “respect and consideration” for the pilot’s family.

He added: “We are extremely grateful for the time and response from our UK counterparts in support of these recovery efforts and remain hopeful that our Liberty Wing airman will be located and recovered.”

The crash happened at around 9.30am, with a HM Coastguard helicopter from Humberside sent along with Bridlington and Scarborough RNLI lifeboats.

A spokesman for the 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, said: “A US Air Force F-15C Eagle crashed at approximately 9.40am 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 UK Search and Rescue have been called to support.”

HM Coastguard is coordinating the response after reports were received of an aircraft going down into the sea 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head.

A spokesman said: “The HM Coastguard helicopter from Humberside has been sent along with Bridlington and Scarborough RNLI lifeboats. Following a Mayday broadcast by HM Coastguard, other vessels nearby are heading to the area.

“It’s believed the aircraft had one person on board. We have no further information at this time.”

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


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