FIVE UNITED STATES navy jet aircraft will remain at RAF Lossiemouth for the time being as investigations are under way over the fatal crash of one of their number this week.
Six FA-18 Hornets of the US Marine Corps were returning to their home base in California from missions in the Middle East when one plummeted into a field in Cambridgeshire on Wednesday.
Soon after the crash, which killed the pilot, Major Taj Sareen, five of the aircraft made a surprise landing at RAF Lossiemouth with their pilots seen to be distressed and consoling each other on the Moray airfield.
A spokeswoman for the US Military in the UK has said she was unable to release information about why the pilots were forced to detour to Moray, however aviation experts say that it is likely the pilots were ordered to land at Lossiemouth as it afforded the facilities to allow safety checks to be made on the aircraft.
The five jets were still parked up beside the runway at RAF Lossiemouth last night, being protected from gale force winds by fuel carriers parked as a wind break.
It is understood that the five pilots were flown out of Moray heading for the US Base at Mildenhall in Suffolk late on Wednesday, the base the six aircraft had flown from earlier in the day.
While the UK air accident investigation branch confirmed that the US authorities will lead the investigation into the accident, and RAF Lossiemouth spokesman said that it was not possible to comment on the operations of visiting aircraft to the Moray base.