Boston, MA, United States (4E) – Rescuers in helicopters and on the ground are searching for a missing fighter jet pilot in the thick forest near western Virginia’s Elliot Knob mountain on Wednesday.
Military personnel and the Virginia Air National Guard will soon lead the search operation following the crash of the pilot’s F-15C while en route to the Naval Air Station New Orleans earlier Wednesday, the Virginia State Police (VSP) said.
The pilot from the Massachusetts Air National Guard, whose name is being withheld, managed to send a distress call to air traffic controllers in Washington, D.C. before crashing, according to Col. James Keefe, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing based in Westfield, Massachusetts.
A local first responder went to the crash site near Deerfield by following thick smoke caused by the crash and reported seeing debris around 10 a.m. No one was hurt on the ground as the forest is uninhabited.
The VSP said the crash created a deep crater with the debris scattered around it.