US pilot confirmed dead after jet from Suffolk crashes in North Sea

RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk has confirmed that the pilot missing after his plane crashed into the North Sea has been found dead.

His F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing was located earlier and now the US Air Force says the pilot has died.

The name of the pilot will not be released until all next of kin notifications have been made.

The cause of the crash is not known.

  • RAF Lakenheath issued a video statement by Colonel Will Marshall, Commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, confirming the pilot had died

The base previously said search efforts by HM Coastguard had found the aircraft wreckage with recovery efforts under way.

HM Coastguard said on Monday morning that it had received reports that anaircraft went into the sea 74 miles off the coast of Flamborough Head inYorkshire.

A Coastguard helicopter and Bridlington and Scarborough RNLI lifeboats were sent to the area. The Coastguard also sent a Mayday broadcast, resulting in other vessels nearby heading there.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

The F15C is a model of jet that has been used by the US Air Force since 1979.

RAF Lakenheath is the "largest US Air Force-operated base in England and the only US air forces in Europe F15 fighter wing", its website said.

The 48th Fighter Wing, which has operated from the base since 1960, has more than 4,500 "active-duty military members".

Its mission statement is to "provide worldwide responsive combat air power and support".

In October 2014, an F15D fighter jet based at RAF Lakenheath crashed in fields near Spalding in Lincolnshire.

The pilot ejected safely, suffering only minor injuries, and no-one on theground was hurt.

A US Air Force investigation found that the crash was caused by the "angle of attack" of the aircraft and "imperfections" in the assembly of the jet's nosecap.

In October 2015, US pilot Major Taj Sareen died when his F-18 Hornet jetcrashed on farmland near RAF Lakenheath. A subsequent investigation found the 34-year-old did not report problems with his aircraft before take-off.