- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LONDON (AP) - A U.S. Marine fighter pilot was killed Wednesday when his F-18 crashed after taking off from a British air base in eastern England, U.S. and British officials said.

The pilot was ejected from the single-seat aircraft after it went down near the Royal Air Force Lakenheath station, said Gunnery Sgt. Donald Bohanner at California’s Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, where the F/A-18C Hornet is stationed. No other casualties were reported.

The Marine Corps said the pilot’s identity was being withheld pending notification of family.

The plane belonging to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing was among six San Diego-based aircraft returning from a six-month deployment in the Middle East.

Cambridgeshire police said the jet crashed after take-off from Lakenheath. It landed six miles northwest of the airfield. The other five planes were safely diverted to a nearby air base.

Bohanner said he did not know if the five other pilots - belonging to the Marine Attack Fighter Squadron 232 - would be delayed in their return to San Diego.

Officials are investigating the cause of the crash.

A year ago, a U.S. Air Force F-15 crashed in a field near the air base. The pilot was not seriously hurt.

In January 2014, four U.S. Air Force crew members based at Lakenheath died when their helicopter hit a flock of geese and crashed during a training mission.


AP writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

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