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US F-15E Fighter Jet Crashes In Libya

A U.S. fighter jet crashed in Libya after an apparent equipment 
malfunction but both crewmembers were able to eject and are back safely
in American hands, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The plane crashed Monday at 2130 GMT (5:30 p.m. EDT), said Vince Crawley, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command.

A spokesman for the Libyan opposition, Mohammed Ali, said the U.S. plane
crashed about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of the eastern rebel
stronghold of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city.

A Marine Corps Osprey search and rescue aircraft retrieved the pilot,
while the second crew member, a weapon’s officer, was recovered by rebel
forces and is now in American hands, another U.S. official said in
Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorized to speak on the record.
The two were separated after ejecting from the crippled F-15E Strike
Eagle jet at high altitude and drifting down to different locations,
Crawley said, adding they sustained minor injuries.

The aircraft, based out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, was
flying out of Italy’s Aviano Air Base in support of Operation Odyssey
Dawn. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

The Air Force has said only that B-2, F-15 and F-16 fighters are
participating in operations over Libya. The U.S. involvement in Libya is
being run by Africa Command, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany.
Africa Command launched in Oct. 2008 after the Pentagon abandoned
efforts to base the command on the continent after it hit resistance
among African nations, and instead posted about two dozen liaison
officers at African embassies.