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Crash kills pilot during training

Authorities investigate cause of accident in remote area near Eagle

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2001

FAIRBANKS - A British military jet crashed on a training mission out of Eielson Air Force Base Wednesday, killing the pilot, officials said.

Search crews found the wreckage hours later, said officials from Eielson, a base 26 miles south of Fairbanks.

In London, a Ministry of Defense spokesman confirmed that the body of the pilot was found in the wreckage of the Royal Air Force Jaguar. The pilot's identity is not being released until next of kin are identified.

The Royal Air Force has used the Jaguar fighter-bomber since 1969. Last October, an RAF Jaguar lost control near the Scotland-England border after flying through a flock of birds. The pilot ejected safely.

In 1996, an RAF pilot ejected safely when his plane crashed during international training exercises in Alaska.

The cause of Wednesday's crash was under investigation, officials said.

Eielson spokeswoman Maj. Valerie Trefts said the wreckage of the single-seat fighter was located about 5 p.m. in a remote area west of Eagle, near the Alaska-Canada border. Eagle is about 200 miles east of Fairbanks.

The plane was one of four jets flying a mission during the Cooperative Cope Thunder, multinational military air exercise taking place in Alaska's Interior. British, Japanese and U.S. aircraft are participating in the two-week exercise, which began July 16 and concludes Friday, Trefts said.

The Jaguar was last tracked about 110 miles northeast of Delta Junction, south of Fairbanks. Trefts said the plane was running a normal mission simulating a ground attack when it disappeared from radar.

The plane was scheduled to land at Eielson at 12:06 p.m. and considered overdue at 12:20 p.m., Trefts said.

Military search and rescue aircraft were used in the search for the Jaguar and the missing pilot.

About 350 Royal Air Force members are at Eielson for the exercise. Also participating are 32 observers with the Japan Self-Defense Air Force. The Japanese also have three C-130 cargo planes that are flying out of Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.



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