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US fighter pilot whose jet crashed into North Sea named

The Guardian logo The Guardian 6/16/2020 Dan Sabbagh
a plane flying over a body of water: Photograph: Dave Nolan/EPA © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Dave Nolan/EPA

The pilot of the US Air Force F-15C fighter plane who was killed in a crash off the north-east coast of England on Monday has been named by his unit.

Lt Kenneth Allen was the assistant chief of weapons and tactics for the 493rd Fighter Squadron and had been deployed in the UK since February 2020, the 48th Fighter Wing said.

Allen’s plane was one of four on a training mission when it plunged into the North Sea, off the Yorkshire coast, at about 9.40am on Monday.

His body was recovered in the afternoon after a search and rescue operation involving the UK coastguards around 75 nautical miles from Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

Col Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander, said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron. The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness.”

The pilot and plane were stationed at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, home to the largest US air force base in England. The 48th Fighter Wing has operated from there since 1960 and has more than 4,500 active-duty military members serving.

The F-15C is a single-seater version of a long-established Boeing twin-engine fighter, which has been used by the US Air Force since 1979.

Crashes involving US planes have happened occasionally around Lakenheath in recent years, although fatalities are rare.

In October 2015, the US pilot Maj Taj Sareen died when his F/A-18 Hornet jet crashed on farmland near Lakenheath. A subsequent investigation found that the 34-year-old failed to report problems with his aircraft before takeoff.

Allen is survived by his wife and parents. His next of kin have been informed of his death.


Video: US pilot killed in fighter jet crash (ABC News)

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