Two videos tell the tale of the crew of the F-15 lost by the US over Libya, after mechanical failure rather than hostile fire. American forces rescued one crewman; the other was found by rebel forces who realized that anyone still in the air over Libya had to be friendly. They hustled him back to their leadership, which fed and sheltered him until the US could hustle him back to the USS Kearsage. CNN has the videos, while the AP provides the details:
A U.S. fighter jet crashed in Libya after an apparent equipment malfunction but both crewmembers were able to eject and were back in American hands with only minor injuries, U.S. officials said Tuesday. …
One of the jet’s airmen landed in a field of sheep after ejecting from the plane, then raised his hands and called out “OK, OK” to a crowd who had gathered, the Telegraph cited witness Younis Amruni, 27, as saying.
“I hugged him and said: ‘Don’t be scared, we are your friends,'” Amruni told the newspaper, adding that people then lined up to shake the airman’s hand.
“We are so grateful to these men who are protecting the skies,” he said. “We gave him juice and then the revolutionary military people took him away.”
A Marine Corps Osprey search and rescue aircraft retrieved the main pilot, while the second crew member, a weapon systems officer who is also a pilot, was recovered by rebel forces and is now in American hands, a U.S. official said in Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The two had to eject at high altitude and drifted in different directions to land. It’s a feel-good story for Americans in the first hours of our latest foreign intervention, and thankfully no one got seriously hurt or captured by enemy forces.