A U.S. military jet crashed in England Wednesday, but the single-seater plane's pilot managed to eject safely, according to reports. The crash has raised concerns among local villagers about the safety of U.S. military training exercises taking place in their area.
Lincolnshire police said that members of the public contacted emergency services around 3.30 p.m. Wednesday to report that they had seen a jet come down in a field. According to witnesses, an F-15D Eagle flying out of RAF Lakenheath spun out of control and crashed, according to a report from the Telegraph. The UK's Channel 4 News tweeted a picture of the aftermath of the crash.
Military plane crash lands and bursts into flames in Lincolnshire field during combat training. Pilot is safe. pic.twitter.com/zYC2J8Ij8u
â€” Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) October 8, 2014
RAF Lakenheath, home to the U.S. 48th Fighter Wing, tweeted that the pilot involved in the crash was safe.
â€” RAF Lakenheath (@48FighterWing) October 8, 2014
A Lincolnshire police spokesman said that the plane “has come down in an isolated rural area and no premises have been affected. A cordon has been put in place and the public are advised to avoid the area as the plane is alight and the fumes may be hazardous.”
The jet crashed in a field where farmers Tim Cley, 55, and his brother Michael, 47, were due to harvest their potato crop, according to the Telegraph.
“It was a good job we were not in the field at the time because we could have had the plane crash on top of us,” Tim reportedly said. “I can’t imagine we are going to be able to harvest our potatoes now because the wreckage and the investigation teams will be there for a while.
Janet Prescott, who witnessed the crash, told BBC News: "It's frightening to think that the jet has passed over houses and the village school. Who knows how that jet could have come down. From the point he ejected to where the plane came down is probably a mile. That jet has continued flying with no-one in it. It could have hit any one of a number of houses. Thank God it didn't."
Base commander Col. Robert Novotny said that it was unclear what had caused the crash, which took place during a training exercise.