Military: Pilot was killed in Virginia F-15 crash
DEERFIELD, Va. — The pilot of an F-15 jet that crashed earlier this week in remote Virginia mountains was killed, military officials now say, bringing a sad end to an exhaustive two-day search involving more than 100 local, state and federal officials as well as volunteers.
Col. James Keefe announced the news Thursday at the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield, Massachusetts, home of the 104th Fighter Wing, where the pilot and jet were based.
Keefe said his “thoughts and prayers are with the family” of the pilot, whose identity wasn't disclosed.
“Today was a tough day for the Massachusetts Air National Guard,” Brig. Gen. Robert Brooks, Commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, told a news conference in Deerfield.
Brooks said rescuers found evidence at the crash site Thursday that the pilot did not eject. When asked for specifics, he said, “We just found evidence that the ejection seat was with the aircraft.”
Brooks would not comment on whether the pilot's remains had been found, but only said, “We bring every airman home.”
The investigation into what caused the crash of the single-seat jet is ongoing and will take several weeks, Brooks said. He said the pilot's family had been informed and his identity would be made public Friday.
The jet crashed in the mountains of western Virginia on Wednesday morning, shaking residents but causing no injuries on the ground. Investigators said the jet hit the ground at a high rate of speed, leaving a deep crater and a large debris field in a heavily wooded area next to a mountain in the George Washington National Forest.
Authorities said the pilot was headed to New Orleans for radar installation as part of routine maintenance and reported an inflight emergency before losing radio contact.
Keefe said there were no munitions aboard the jet at the time of the crash. He said the plane was flying at about 30,000 to 40,000 feet when the pilot reported the emergency.
F-15s are maneuverable tactical fighters that can reach speeds up to 1,875 mph, according to the Air Force website. The F-15C Eagle entered the Air Force inventory in 1979 and costs nearly $30 million, the website says. The Air Force has nearly 250 F-15s.
Several F-15s have crashed over the past few years in various states. In at least one, the pilot ejected safely. Causes included failure of a support structure for the jet and pilot error.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cruz switches targets, takes exception with IRS practices
- Defense memo reveals plan to protect transgender troops
- New TSA administrator vows training to address security gaps
- Mich. high court strikes down mandatory fees for state employees in unions
- Obama hopes he has enough votes to sustain a potential veto of Iran nuke deal; pro-Israel groups aim to stop it
- Planned Parenthood requests expert study
- Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
- University of New Hampshire language guide panned
- Ohio cop indicted on murder charge in traffic-stop shooting
- Clinton to testify before House committee on Benghazi in October
- Cincy officer indicted on murder charge in fatal shooting of motorist