A US pilot died after two F-15s crashed during training exercises over the Gulf of Mexico, the US Air Force said.
The pilot of the second fighter jet was listed in good condition at a hospital Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, according to a statement released by the base Wednesday.
The two F-15C Eagles that were part of the 33rd Fighter Wing of the US Air Force based at Eglin went missing at about 3 p.m., and a search and rescue mission was launched by the military and US Coast Guard.
Initial reports from the base said that both pilots were safely recovered. It was unclear if the dead pilot was killed in the accident or died later in the hospital of injuries.
Colonel Todd Harmer, commander of the squadron, said in a statement that the Air Force has ‘suffered a great loss today, and my heart goes out to the family and friends of our fallen airman’.
Sergeant LuCelia Ball, a spokeswoman for the base, could not confirm a report that the two planes had collided but said the cause of the accident was under investigation.
The F-15 has been under scrutiny since one of the aging fighter jets broke up in mid-flight in November. Most of the fleet was cleared to return to service after inspections.