Pilot killed when Miramar-based F/A-18 crashes in England

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LONDON -- A Marine jet fighter based in San Diego crashed Wednesday in farmland in the east of England, killing the pilot, Marine and British sources said.

The plane had taken off from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk -- a U.S. base -- and went down near the town of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, Wednesday, Cambridgeshire police said in a statement. It is believed the pilot was the only occupant of the plane when it crashed at around 10:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. PDT), the statement said.

The plane, a F/A-18C Hornet, belonged to Marine Attack Fighter Squadron 232, which is part of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, base officials said in a written statement. The fighter was one of six returning to the United States from a mission in Bahrain.  Miramar officials said the five other jets safely diverted to Royal Air Force Base Lossiemouth.

Authorities said the only person aboard the plane was killed. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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