Jet crash clean-up cost the UK £93,000

Rescue teams at the scene where a USAF F-15D fighter jet came down in Weston Hills, near homes and the village primary school in October 2014.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Rescue teams at the scene where a USAF F-15D fighter jet came down in Weston Hills, near homes and the village primary school in October 2014. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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A clean-up operation after a US fighter jet crashed near a school in Weston Hills came to almost £400,000 it has 
been revealed.

UK taxpayers will be asked to foot almost £100,000 of the bill incurred after an F-15D Eagle aircraft, worth more than £28.5 million, came down on farmland near Broadgate last October.

Figures released to the BBC by the US Department of Defense under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the cost of carrying contaminated soil to landfill alone ran up to nearly £285,000.

Excavation and removal of contaminated soil cost almost £53,000, reinstatement of topsoil just under £55,400 and labour costs were nearly £650.

The US Department of Defense didn’t reveal what caused the crash and an Aircraft Investigation Board is still examining what exactly happened during a military training exercise from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk on October 8.

A USAF spokesman at RAF Lakenheath said: “We don’t have any update on when the Aircraft Investigation Board will conclude their inquiry and when their report will be published.

“Every case is special and is treated independently, but we will look at the report once it is published, analyse it and then release it to the public.

Three-quarters of the clean-up bill will be paid by the USAF, with the other 25 per cent to be met by the Ministry of Defence whose officials from RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire were in charge of clearing the field and recovering the jet.

In the meantime, the USAF spokesman confirmed that aircraft training exercises were continuing over Weston Hills and throughout the country.

“In all of our standard flying operations, we have always had stringent safety practices.

“But sometimes things happen and hopefully the Aircraft Investigation Board will tell us if the crash that took place last October was something within our control,” the spokesman said.

“The board operates independently of our base and the only thing we would get is if there is an immediate issue that we have to address.

“We have quite an active flying programme out of RAF Lakenheath that is doing well and operations are continuing as normal throughout England.”

USAF Officers from RAF Lakenheath met with police and parish councillors soon after the crash to reassure people in Weston Hills about the safety of operations from the base.

Coun Dennis Farnsworth, one of the councillors who attended the meeting, said: “We’ve had no deputations from the community to the parish council so people are letting things run their course and I feel we have to do that.”