An F-15C jet based at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts crashed Wednesday morning in Virginia, according to a statement from Barnes. Many details remain unclear about the crash.
The 104th Fighter Wing lost radio contact with the aircraft at approximately 9:05 am, after the pilot reported an in-flight emergency. According to a statement, local law enforcement in Virginia responded, and confirmed the crash.
Military officials at Barnes on Wednesday afternoon had few details to report about the cause and aftermath of the jet crash. They know that the jet left Barnes in the morning, heading to an air base in New Orleans, where it was scheduled to receive a radar upgrade.
Lieutenant Anthony Mutti said the pilot reported an “in-flight emergency” before the base lost radio contact, and the jet crashed in the Shenandoa Valley of Virginia.
“We know that it’s a deeply, heavily-wooded area with no communication with cell phones,” Mutti said. “I know that they’re struggling to get information out, and it’s a trek in. That’s all we know right now.”
Mutti said the status of the pilot is “not confirmed,” and the investigation is ongoing. He said the family of the pilot has been contacted.
Colonel James Keefe, the commander of the fighter wing, said the pilot was trained in high-altitude ejection procedures and wilderness survival. Keefe also noted that F-15 crashes are very uncommon.