A search-and-rescue operation is under way off the British coast after a US F-15 C Eagle fighter jet crashed into the North Sea on Monday morning.
According to an afternoon statement by the US Airforce, "the cause of
the crash as well as the status of the pilot are unknown at this
The British coastguard said it had dispatched search helicopters to
the area after receiving reports "of an aircraft going down into the
sea 74 nautical miles [137 kilometres] off Flamborough Head."
The coastguard said that lifeboats had set out from nearby towns on
England's eastern coast, in a region about halfway between London and
Edinburgh. A red alert has been issued to ships already operating in
the area, which TV reports suggest is shrouded in fog.
The US airforce said that the jet "was on a routine training mission
with one pilot on board" when it went down at approximately 9:40 am
The jet took off from RAF Lakenheath, an airforce base located about
200 kilometres south of Flamborough Head. About 4,000 airforce
personnel are stationed at Lakenheath, making it one of the main hubs
for US forces based in Britain.
An F-15 C Eagle fighter jet. File picture