A U.S. fighter jet crashed Monday into the North Sea

A U.S. fighter jet  F-15C Eagle with one pilot on board crashed into the North Sea off the east coast of England during a training mission on Monday, the U.S. Air Force in Europe said in a statement.

The aircraft is believed to have crashed 74 nautical miles off the East Yorkshire coast. The pilot and the aircraft are still missing. A search and rescue operation is underway. Both the cause of the crash and the status of the pilot are unknown. The jet took off from RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England. Aircraft based there have played counter-terrorism roles across the Middle East since September 11, 2001. The plane crashed off the coast of England near Middlesbrough, around 250 miles north of London. The UK's Coastguard is coordinating the search response.


"The HM Coastguard helicopter from Humberside has been sent along with Bridlington and Scarborough RNLI lifeboats. Following a Mayday broadcast by HM Coastguard, other vessels nearby are heading to the area," the coastguard said. The F15C, a single-seater air defence fighter, is a model of jet that has been used by the US Air Force since 1979.

A spokeswoman for the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath said: "The pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing has been located, and confirmed deceased.