U.S. F-15 Crashes in Libya, Crew Ejected


A U.S. F-15 jet crashed in Libya due to a technical fault late Monday while enforcing a no-fly zone and both its crew ejected safely, the U.S. Africa command said Tuesday.

"Two crew members ejected from their U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle when the aircraft experienced equipment malfunction over northeast Libya, March 21, 2011 at approximately 10:30 pm CET," the command, based in the western German city of Stuttgart, said in a statement.

"Both crew members ejected and are safe...The cause of the incident is under investigation."

A command spokeswoman, Nicole Dalrymple, told Agence France Presse that the crew had sustained minor injuries and that one had been recovered while an operation to pick up the second was ongoing.

She said the crash was not a result of hostile action and an investigation to determine the cause of the malfunction was underway.

The aircraft, based out of Lakenheath, England, was flying out of Aviano air base in northeastern Italy.

Western forces pounded strongholds of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for a third night under a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing all necessary means to stop Gadhafi's forces harming civilians as they battle a rebellion.

Coalition officials expressed satisfaction with progress in degrading Gadhafi's air defenses.

A senior U.S. general said the strikes begun on Saturday night could diminish but the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone would be extended to the whole country.