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 time."
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 (0840 GMT). 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.
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