Air Force Pilot in F-15 Crash Confirmed Dead

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U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle departs RAF Lakenheath.
FILE -- U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles depart RAF Lakenheath to support the combat air patrol mission in Turkey, Nov. 6, 2015. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Nigel Sandridge)

Officials have confirmed that an F-15C Eagle pilot who crashed off the coast of Great Britain Monday has died.

Search and rescue crews first located the fighter jet wreckage in the North Sea hours after the crash, around 9:40 a.m. local time. Shortly after, the pilot's remains were found, the base said in a release.

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"The name of the pilot will not be released until all next of kin notifications have been made," the release said.

The pilot was on a routine training mission Monday morning when the accident occurred. The cause of the crash has not been identified.

The U.K. Coast Guard said officials received reports that the plane went down 74 nautical miles off Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast, Great Britain's eastern coastline, according to The Associated Press. Emergency services were immediately notified; the effort included a helicopter and Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats, a coast guard spokeswoman told BBC News.

"This is a tragic loss for the 48th Fighter Wing community, and our deepest condolences go out to the pilot's family and the 493rd Fighter Squadron," RAF Lakenheath officials said.

The Air Force has been on a quest to replace its aging F-15Cs with the proposed F-15EX fourth-plus generation aircraft. 

Officials in 2017 voiced concerns about how long the C-model would be able to stay in service.

"We are already having serious problems with that airframe, with metal fatigue within the longerons on the side of the aircraft," then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said during a forum last May.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

Related: Air Force F-15C Wreckage Found in North Sea; Pilot Still Missing

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