Two Missing Pilots Rescued from Gulf of Mexico

PENSACOLA, FL (AP) — The Air Force says two fighter jets and their pilots are missing after they disappeared during a training mission over the Gulf of Mexico.

Eglin Air Force Base spokesman Sgt. Brian Jones says the single-seat F-15 C Eagles disappeared about 2 p.m. CST Wednesday off the Florida Panhandle and that search and rescue efforts are under way. The Coast Guard is responding with three helicopters, a plane and two boats.

Air Force officials are investigating.

“We don’t know what led to the disappearance,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Leonhard, an Air Force spokesman.

“We’ve had no contact from the pilots.”

The Air Force began using the F-15C in 1979. The planes, built by McDonnell Douglas Corp., were deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm and have since been used in Iraq, Turkey and Bosnia. They can fly up to 65,000 feet and each costs about $30 million, according to the Air Force.

“The F-15 has electronic systems and weaponry to detect, acquire, track and attack enemy aircraft while operating in friendly or enemy-controlled airspace. The weapons and flight control systems are designed so one person can safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat,” according to its description on an Air Force Web site.


PENSACOLA, FL (AP) — The Air Force says both pilots from the two missing fighter jets have been rescued in the Gulf of Mexico.


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