US fighter plane crashes off English coast, pilot missing

USAF F-15C Eagle based at RAF Lakenheath has crashed into the North Sea, east of Hull. (Twitter pic/NavyLookout)

LONDON: A US fighter plane crashed off the coast of northeast England on Monday, sparking a search and rescue operation for the pilot in the North Sea.

The US Air Force said the F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing crashed at around 9.40am local time.

“At the time of the accident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board,” it said.

“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.”

Representatives for the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The aircraft was from RAF Lakenheath, the largest US Air Force-operated base in England and the only US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 fighter wing. It is located about 40km northeast of Cambridge.

In 2014, a US military helicopter crashed on the coast of eastern England, killing all four crew on board.