August 29, 2014, BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. – Massachusetts National Guard officials confirmed late Thursday that the pilot was fatally injured in the Aug. 27 crash of an F-15C Eagle in remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.
The pilot’s name is being withheld pending notification of family members.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are doing all we can to support them during this very difficult time,” said Col. James Keefe, commander, 104th Fighter Wing. “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 Wednesday morning 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. Wednesday, Washington Center Air Traffic Control in Washington, D.C. ,lost radio contact with the aircraft stationed at the 104th Fighter Wing, and 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 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 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.