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Mechanical Failure Likely Cause of Downed U.S. Plane in Libya

8:00 AM, Mar 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The New York Times reports: 

An American F-15E fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight and one crew member has been recovered while the other is “in the process of recovery,” according to a spokesman for the American military’s Africa Command and a British reporter who saw the wreckage.

The crash was likely caused by mechanical failure and not hostile fire, the spokesman, Vince Crawley, told Reuters. Details of the incident remained sparse. The crash was the first known setback for the international coalition attacking Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces in three days of strikes authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

And the Telegraph, which first reported the crash, also says that the two crew members are likely safe, and that the U.S. plane was likely brought down by a mechanical failure: 

The two crew members on the F-15E fighter jet ejected to safety. One has already been recovered by US forces, who say they are in the process of rescuing the other.

The US military confirmed that one of its jets had crash landed but said that it had not been shot down.

It is thought the F-15E fighter jet came to ground after suffering a mechanical failure.

The crashed plane was discovered by a Telegraph journalist reporting in and around Benghazi, the rebel-held city.

It is understood that at least one of the crew members was initially rescued by rebel Libyan soldiers after ejecting from the aircraft.

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