WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five U.S. service members were killed on Friday when their plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a refueling training mission, the U.S. Defense Department said on Sunday.
Search and rescue operations involving nearby U.S. military aircraft and ships immediately followed the crash and an investigation into its cause is underway, the U.S. European Command said in a statement.
The US military has deployed two aircraft carriers, their support ships and dozens of aircraft to the eastern Mediterranean since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 to act as a deterrent and ensure the conflict does not spread. not.
The U.S. European Command, which manages U.S. military operations in Europe and parts of the Middle East, reported the accident Saturday.
“We can say with certainty that the exit of the aircraft was purely training related and there is no indication of hostile activity,” he added.
The identities of the victims will not be released until notifications to next of kin are completed, the command said.
President Joe Biden expressed his condolences in a statement on Sunday.