The pilot of an F-15 jet that crashed Wednesday has died, military officials said Thursday evening.
The fighter jet has crashed into a forest near Deerfield, Va., reports The News Leader.
The crash was first reported this morning when a dispatcher in Washington, D.C., reported that they had lost contact with an aircraft near Deerfield. The Virginia State Police confirmed they were notified at 9:06 a.m. of a crash.
A Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C fighter jet was involved in the crash. The jet was on its way from Massachusetts to New Orleans for a "system upgrade" when it went down, said the U.S. Air Force in a statement.
The U.S. Army has sent an aircraft recovery team to the site, says a D.C. airport dispatcher, according to The News Leader. Virginia State Police also present at crash site.
The United States Air Force released the following statement following the crash:
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. (AFNS) --
At approximately 9:05 a.m. today the 104th Fighter Wing lost radio contact with an F-15C aircraft during a cross country mission over the Shenandoah Valley Virginia.
The pilot flying the F-15C made a report of an inflight emergency prior to radio contact being lost. Subsequently there were reports of dark smoke being seen around the aircrafts last known whereabouts. Local law enforcement arrived on scene and confirmed the aircraft crashed.
"Information on this incident is developing rapidly and we are not going to speculate on what occurred or the status of the pilot", said Col James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. "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."
The F-15C aircraft was in route to receive a system upgrade, and there were no munitions on the aircraft during this cross-country trip.
At this point the status of the pilot is not confirmed.