An F-15C assigned to Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., is seen in 2013. (US Air Force)
A Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C crashed at about 9 a.m. in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The pilot’s status is unknown.
The single-seat F-15C is assigned to the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base. The pilot reported an in-flight emergency before air traffic controllers lost radio contact with the jet, according to a statement from the 104th Fighter Wing. There were reports of dark smoke around the aircraft’s last known whereabouts.
The aircraft was flying to Louisiana for upgrades to its radar system, according to the wing. There were no munitions on the aircraft.
Emergency officials, including multiple helicopters, have been searching the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest near Deerfield, Virginia.
Base officials did not have information on the pilot’s whereabouts, or whether there was an ejection. A witness reported seeing an ejection from the jet along with a parachute, according to USA Today. Others in the area reported hearing multiple loud bangs
“Information on this incident is developing rapidly and we are not going to speculate on what occurred or the status of the pilot,” Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the pilot is OK, and the pilot will be in our thoughts and prayers as the events of this incident unfold.”