Two American F-15 fighters were reported missing over Scotland today. As of midnight Monday, local time, no wreckage has been found, no radio beacons have been picked up and no contacts have taken place.

The fighters were on an afternoon training mission from the US Air Force Base at Lakenheath, 75 miles northeast of London. Traffic controllers lost contact with them over the Cairngorm Mountains in the Scottish Highlands.

Three Sea King rescue helicopters and two RAF Nimrod reconnaisance aircraft were searching the area. Mountain rescue teams were combing the rough but relatively open terrain.

The Royal Air Force felt that the lack of wreckage or any sign of the planes at all was unusual, given that they area over which they disappeared is relatively open. Area police didn’t receive any calls about crashing planes.

Weather in the area was clear with abundant sunshine at the time of the crash, but rescue efforts were called off after dark locally, and weather conditions are now deteriorating.

RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: “It is something of a mystery. The planes are well equipped safety-wise with low level ejector seats, safety beacons and beacons for the crew themselves.”

The search is scheduled to resume at first light Tuesday.

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