The pilot of an F-15C Eagle fighter jet that crashed into the sea east of the United Kingdom Monday morning has been found dead.
The F-15, from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, crashed into the North Sea at about 9:40 a.m. local time Monday, the Air Force said. The wing said the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board, but that the cause of the crash remained unknown.
Master Sgt. Matthew Plew, a spokesman for the 48th, said U.K. Search and Rescue had been called in to support the rescue effort.
But later on Monday, wing commander Col. Will Marshall said in a video posted online that the pilot had died. Marshall said the pilot’s name would not be released until after the next of kin had been notified.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm the pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle has been located, and confirmed deceased," Marshall said. “This is a tragic loss for the 48th Fighter Wing community, and our deepest condolences go out to the pilot’s family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron.”
The 48th said in a previous tweet that a search effort by Her Majesty’s Coastguard had found the wreckage of the plane, and recovery efforts were under way.
The crash is the latest in a series of mishaps for fighter jets, and the first F-15 crash in two years.
In May, an F-15 helping to protect President Trump while he was at Camp David was forced to divert to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and make an emergency landing on its fuselage after its landing gear malfunctioned.
Another F-15C, from Kadena Air Base in Japan, crashed into the ocean while on a training sortie in June 2018. An investigation concluded that crash was due to pilot error.
More recently, an F-22 and an F-35 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida each crashed, in separate incidents four days apart from one another in May. Those back-to-back crashes prompted the base to take a “safety pause” and temporarily stop flying.
This is a developing story. Stay with Air Force Times for updates.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.