A U.S. Air Force Strike Eagle F-15E jet crashed near the eastern city of Benghazi in Libya late Monday as part of a mission to protect civilians from forces led by Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
Both crew members ejected ahead of the crash and were recovered safely, U.S. Africa Command said.
The cause of the incident is under investigation. The aircraft experienced a malfunction over northeast Libya at about 10:30 p.m. Central European Time.
Photos of the scene released in the afternoon local time by Reuters show about two dozen people in an open field viewing the wreckage while standing near or on top of it. The plane’s fuselage appears cracked open and burned out extensively while its wings were shown collapsed.
The identities of the crew members were not immediately released.
A coalition of nations, with the primary participation coming from France, Britain and the United States, is leading a push to implement U.N. Resolution 1973, which calls for Gaddafi to start an immediate cease fire. The resolution also calls for the use of military force to protect Libyan civilians.
The aircraft was based out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. It was flying out of Aviano Air Base in northern Italy.