US Air Force F-15E crashes in Libya


A US Air Force F-15E fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight after a mechanical failure but its crew was safe, a spokesman for the US military Africa Command said Today.

Libyan rebels rescued the pilot after he ejected from the warplane, which came down near the eastern city of Benghazi, Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on its website.

Spokesman Vince Crawley declined to give the location of the crash and also would not say how the rescued crewman was picked up or where he was taken.

Another spokesman for the Stuttgart-based Africa Command said later the second crewman had also been safely rescued, and both crew members had suffered only minor injuries after ejecting from the aircraft.

The aircraft, based out of England, was flying out of Aviano Air Base in Italy when it experienced an equipment malfunction over northeast Libya, a military statement said.

The Telegraph web site showed local Libyans inspecting the charred wreckage of the plane.

Western forces carried out a third night of air raids overnight aimed at protecting civilians from forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.