BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass., Aug. 29, 2014 —
The pilot of an F-15C Eagle aircraft that crashed Aug. 27 in remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Virginia, was fatally injured, Massachusetts National Guard officials said late yesterday.
The pilot’s name is being withheld pending notification of family members, officials said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are doing all we can to support them during this very difficult time,” said Air Force Col. James Keefe, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing based here.
“We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the family and allow them the time they need to grieve,” Keefe said.
An official safety investigation board is being convened and the investigation into the crash is ongoing.
A massive search ensued following the crash of the jet in dense forest. The search involved personnel from the National Guard, Virginia State Police and civilian searchers, some with dogs and others on horseback.
At approximately 9:05 a.m. on Aug. 27, Washington Center Air Traffic Control in Washington, D.C., lost radio contact with the aircraft stationed at the 104th Fighter Wing. At approximately 9:30 a.m. the 104th Fighter Wing learned that the aircraft had crashed in a remote site near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.
The single-seat F-15C Eagle aircraft was en route to Naval Air Station New Orleans to receive a radar system upgrade. The flight was not related to the 104th Fighter Wing’s homeland defense mission, and there were no munitions on the aircraft during this flight, a National Guard news release said.
The pilot was flying a solo mission when he reported an in-flight emergency prior to the loss of radio contact with Washington Center.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The 104th Fighter Wing contributed to this article.)