A U.S. Air Force fighter jet crashed in Libya after experiencing an equipment malfunction, but both crew members ejected safely and are now out of Libya and in U.S. hands, the U.S. military and a senior U.S. defense official said Tuesday.
A pilot and weapons officer aboard an F-15E Strike Eagle had flown from Aviano Air Base in Italy to Libya when the fighter experienced problems, the U.S. military command for Africa said in a statement. Both pilots ejected, the statement said.
The pilot and weapons officer suffered minor injuries but landed safely in two different places on Libyan soil, the military said.
The U.S. military dispatched a pair of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, about 100 miles off the coast of Libya, to pick up the pilot. He was then flown to the vessel, which has extensive medical facilities, military officials said.
Libyan rebels recovered the second crew member and “took good care of him” until coalition forces were able to reach him, a senior defense official said.
Residents in the area, some of whom witnessed the crash, told CNN that they combed farmlands to search for the downed pilots and expressed their gratitude to coalition members.
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