American pilot killed in fighter jet crash on way home from Middle East

Posted at 8:31 AM, Oct 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-23 08:31:57-04

(CNN) — A U.S. pilot killed this week when his fighter jet crashed in eastern England was on his way home from a six-month deployment in the Middle East, a U.S. military statement said.

Maj. Taj Sareen, 34, died when his F/A-18C Hornet went down Wednesday while en route from Bahrain to California, according to the statement.

Before his deployment, Sareen was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, and was returning after a mission against ISIS militants in the Middle East.

Sareen was among a squadron of six aircraft headed home. The remaining five landed safely.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Hillsborough, California, native joined the Marine Corps a decade ago, and has deployed at various times, including to Afghanistan in 2010.

His jet took off from a U.S. base in Suffolk and crashed in Ely, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of London.

The Hornet is a fighter and attack aircraft known for its all-weather capabilities, according to the U.S. military.

Sareen was part of Operation Inherent Resolve, which is conducting airstrikes against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.