Air Force F-15C Wreckage Found in North Sea; Pilot Still Missing

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FILE -- An F-15C Eagle prepares to land at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.
FILE -- An F-15C Eagle prepares to land at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, June 2, 2020. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte)

Search-and-rescue crews from the British Coast Guard have discovered the wreckage of an F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing out of RAF Lakenheath, England, that crashed in the North Sea on Monday.

The pilot is still missing, and search-and-rescue efforts continue, RAF Lakenheath said in a tweet.

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The pilot was on a routine training mission when the jet crashed at around 9:40 a.m. local time. The cause of the crash has not been identified.

The U.K. Coast Guard said officials received reports that the plane went down 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast, Great Britain's eastern coastline, according to The Associated Press. The search effort includes a helicopter and Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats, a spokeswoman told BBC News.

The incident marks the latest in a series of crashes for the U.S. Air Force in the past month.

An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter crashed May 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, following a routine nighttime training flight. The jet, assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Wing, crashed on landing, base officials said in a release. The pilot was able to eject successfully.

Earlier in May, another stealth fighter crashed during a routine training flight near Eglin.

An F-22 Raptor, assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, crashed May 15, roughly 12 miles northeast of the base on the test and training range. While the 325th is assigned to Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base, some aircraft were relocated to nearby Eglin following Hurricane Michael in 2018.

The Raptor pilot was able to eject safely, officials said at the time.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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