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UK: F-15D from Lakenheath crashes in field in Lincolnshire

PUBLISHED: 22:40 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:22 09 October 2014

Image ©Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 08/10/2014. A US military aircraft has crashes in a field near houses and a school in Lincolnshire. Picture by Terry Harris / i-Images

Image ©Licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 08/10/2014. A US military aircraft has crashes in a field near houses and a school in Lincolnshire. Picture by Terry Harris / i-Images

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A pilot has escaped injury after a military jet from Suffolk crashed in a field in Lincolnshire, just a few hundred yards from a primary school.

Police closed the road close at Weston Hillls in Lincolnshire, close to where a US Air Force F15 crashed. Picture: Ian BurtPolice closed the road close at Weston Hillls in Lincolnshire, close to where a US Air Force F15 crashed. Picture: Ian Burt

The F-15D from the US Air Force (USAF) at Lakenheath 493d Fighter Squadron crashed yesterday while on a combat training mission.

Emergency services were called to reports of a jet coming down and bursting into flames in a field near Broadgate in Weston Hills, Lincolnshire, at about 3.30pm.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said the plane came down in an isolated rural area and no premises were affected.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the pilot eject before the plane travelled approximately a mile, spinning backwards over houses, before crash landing 400 yards from a primary school.

iwitness photo of the ill fated F15D of the 493 FS 48 TFW which crashed in Lincolnshire - photo taken ythe day before the crash by Matthew Lastiwitness photo of the ill fated F15D of the 493 FS 48 TFW which crashed in Lincolnshire - photo taken ythe day before the crash by Matthew Last

Residents were advised to stay indoors and those who couldn’t make their way home, including children from Honeypot Nursery and Pre-School, were told to make their way to Weston Hills Village Hall. Residents returned home by 7.40pm.

The police spokesman added: “All residents have been able to return to their homes and the fire is out, although local people have been advised to keep their windows closed as a precautionary measure. An inner and outer cordon remains in place staffed by officers from Lincolnshire Police and the MOD Police.

“Members of the public are reminded about the importance of respecting the cordon. The scene is subject to a forensic investigation and it is a serious matter if anyone interferes with the scene in any way.”

A spokesman for USAF at RAF Lakenheath said: “An HH-60G Pave Hawk transported the pilot back safely. The pilot is now being evaluated at the RAF Lakenheath hospital.”

On Twitter, RAF Lakenheath, @48FighterWing tweeted they were relieved the pilot was able to eject.

The account added: “Our pilots train for every emergency to mitigate damage and injury. We hope they never have to use it, but we’re glad they have it.

“We are hearing reports of witnesses seeing two parachutes, but there was only one airman aboard the F-15D. He is now safely on base.

“We appreciate the local communities’ and Spalding’s patience and understanding. We pro-actively work to mitigate risk as we train.

“The 48th FW is positioned to be Forward, Ready, Now, & as we prepare for challenges of the modern battlefield, safety remains top priority.”

The second aircraft involved in the training exercise also returned to RAF Lakenheath.

A board of qualified officers will now investigate the incident.

Base commander Colonel Robert Novotny said: “We don’t know what caused the crash.

“We’re just fortunate we got our pilot back and this crash didn’t cause any more damage.”

It comes following a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash at Cley-next-the-Sea on January which killed the three men and one woman onboard.

The men were Captain Christopher S Stover, Captain Sean M Ruane and Technical Sergeant Dale E Mathews. The female member of the aircrew was Staff Sergeant Afton M Ponce.

An investigation concluded that at least three geese penetrated the windscreen of the helicopter, rendering the pilot, co-pilot and the aerial gunner unconscious, who were all wearing night vision goggles.

With three of the four crew members unconscious, another goose struck the nose of the helicopter causing an outage in its trim and flight path stabilisation system.

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