F/A-18 Hornet(Photo: Marine Corps)

LONDON — The pilot of a California-based Marine Corps U.S. F-18 fighter jet was killed Wednesday when his plane crashed after taking off from an air base in eastern England, the Air Force said.
The Marine Corps officially confirmed the death of the pilot, who was not identified, but said it was not clear if he ejected from the single-seat aircraft, according to Senior Airman Victoria Taylor, an Air Force public affairs officer.
Cambridgeshire Police said the F/A-18C Hornet crashed on farmland in Redmere after leaving the Lakenheath air base in the county of Suffolk around 10:30 a.m. local time. The pilot was the only crew member aboard, the police said.
The Air Force said the Hornet was one of six fighter jets from Marine Attack Fighter Squadron 232 that were flying from Bahrain to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California. The cause of the crash is unknown, the statement said.
The remaining five aircraft diverted to RAF Lossiemouth, the Air Force said.
The crash comes a year after a U.S. Air Force F-15 crashed in a field near Lakenheath. The pilot was not seriously hurt in that incident.
In January 2014, four U.S. Air Force crew members based at the base died when their helicopter hit a flock of geese during a training mission and crashed.
Stanglin reported from McLean, Va.

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