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US jet 'crash-lands' in field near Benghazi - report

The Daily Telegraph says a US fighter jet crashed due to a mechanical failure – but that the pilot ejected to safety.

An F-15 fighter jet, similar to the one that crashlanded outside Benghazi according to the Daily Telegraph's report.
An F-15 fighter jet, similar to the one that crashlanded outside Benghazi according to the Daily Telegraph's report.
Image: Luca Bruno/AP

AN AMERICAN FIGHTER jet has crash-landed in a field outside the Libyan city of Benghazi, according to reports from local journalists at the scene.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the jet was discovered by one of its own reporters based in the city, and said the plane had come to ground as a result of a mechanical failure, not as a result of enemy fire.

The pilot of the plane – an F-15E fighter jet – was able to eject from the plane to safety, and had been rescued by rebel soldiers based in the city, which has come to be the stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi forces in the country.

The plane, manufactured by Boeing, is described as a “superior next generation multi-role strike fighter” and has a top speed at around 680 metres a second – twice the speed of sound.

The US military confirmed to the Telegraph that it had lost a plane at Benghazi.

The loss of the plane came as Gaddafi’s forces lobbed artillery shells at rebels regrouping outside the city, forcing a band of fighters to scatter – and potentially signalling a prolonged battle.

PA recaps that the first round of the allied assault over the weekend destroyed a series of pro-Gaddafi tanks that had been on the verge of reaching the rebel-held city, reversing the government’s advance and allowing the rebels to barrel to west.

The United States has said it is shifting its focus to widening a no-fly zone across the North African country.

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Gavan Reilly

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