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Old 03-23-2011, 09:19 PM
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Tyburn Tyburn is offline
Angry @ Injustice!
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: England
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Default US Involved in accidental attacks on Libyan Rebels

I assume the US forces thought that these civilians helpping the aircrew were Gaddafi militia...although, is that really likely in Rebel controlled areas??

A mission to save two downed US airmen was clouded last night with allegations that villagers had been hit by flying shrapnel during their rescue.

The scenario the coalition had been dreading since the beginning of Operation Odyssey Dawn began at around 9.30pm GMT on the third night of bombings with reports of a stricken jet.

In the first major loss for the campaign, the US F-15E Strike Eagle was on a mission to destroy a government missile site close to the eastern rebel-held city of Benghazi when it suffered a mechanical failure at high altitude and spiralled down to the ground, the US Africa Command (Africom) said yesterday, insisting it could not have been struck by enemy fire at that height.

As the plane crashed into a wheat field outside the town of Bu Mariem, 24 miles east of Benghazi, both crew managed to eject. "I saw the plane spinning round and round as it came down," said Mahdi el-Amruni, who rushed to the crash site with other villagers. "It was in flames." The two crew members were separated after ejecting from the crippled jet at high altitude and drifted to different locations, Africom spokesman Vince Crawley explained.

The weapons systems officer parachuted into a rocky field and hid in a sheep pen, a farmer, Hamid Moussa el-Amruni, told Associated Press.

"We didn't think it was an American plane. We thought it was a Gaddafi plane. We started calling out to the pilot, but we only speak Arabic. We looked for him and found the parachute. A villager came who spoke English and he called out 'we are here, we are with the rebels' and then the man came out."

Raising his hands to suggest he was OK, the weapons officer emerged to a friendly crowd, who lined up to shake his hand and hug him, professing their gratitude for the men "who are protecting the s