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Searchers Seek Missing F-15C Pilot

National Guard Bureau News Release


BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass., August 28, 2014 — The search in Virginia for a missing 104th Fighter Wing pilot expanded today with Air Force resources.

An F-15C Eagle aircraft assigned to the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing here crashed in Deerfield, Virginia, at about 9:05 a.m. yesterday, about five minutes after radio contact with the pilot was lost.

Since yesterday morning, a search-and-rescue operation in the Washington National Forest area near Deerfield Valley in Virginia has been ongoing. The search efforts now include a specially equipped HC-130 aircraft assigned to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia that has specialized equipment designed for low-light/night-time search and rescue operations. The HC-130 has been conducting air operations since 3 a.m.

Additionally, as many as seven helicopters have been conducting aerial night searches.

Throughout yesterday, at least 100 state police, sheriff’s deputies and fire-and-rescue personnel have been on scene. The ground search slowed overnight due to the dangerous terrain around the crash site. Approximately 10 search-and-rescue teams were on the ground searching along logging roads, fire trails and forest roads. The terrain is too treacherous for off-road ground searches in the dark, according to Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for Virginia State Police.

The search for the missing pilot and the investigation into the crash are ongoing.

Virginia Army National Guard aviators assisted with aerial search-and-rescue efforts with Lakota and Black Hawk helicopters, soldiers and airmen from the Fort Pickett, Virginia-based 34th Civil Support Team provided communications and incident management assistance and additional Guard personnel coordinated the overall aviation operation.

The pilot flying the F-15C made a report of an inflight emergency prior to radio contact being lost. The F-15C aircraft was en route to receive a system upgrade and there were no munitions on the aircraft during this cross-country trip.

(Contributing: Cotton Puryear of the Virginia National Guard and the 104th Fighter Wing)