A military pilot was killed after the F-15 jet crashed in a remote area in the Virginia mountains, it was revealed by military officials on Thursday. There was a search party that involved more than 100 locals, federal officials as well as state officials to find the body of the pilot.
Col. James Keefe announced the sad news at the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield, where the pilot was based. He expressed his deepest regrets and condolences to the pilot’s family, but chose not to reveal his identity.
Brig. Gen. Robert Brooks, Commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, states in a news conference:
Today was a tough day for the Massachusetts Air National Guard. […]We just found evidence that the ejection seat was with the aircraft.
This means that the pilot did not eject, but Brooks refused to confirm whether or not the remains of the pilot were found. He only chose to say that we bring every airman home.
He continued by saying that there is an ongoing investigation to find what caused the single-seat jet to crash and that it is probably going to take several weeks until a cause surfaces. The pilot identity is going to be made public today, August 29.
The F-15 jet crashed in the mountains of western Virginia on Wednesday morning and the crash did not cause any injuries on the ground. The jet hit the ground at very high rates of speed, which caused the formation of a very large and deep crater. Debris was scattered all over the heavily wooded area in the vicinity of George Washington National Forest.
It was revealed that the jet was heading to New Orleans for a routine maintenance work on its radar. Before crashing and losing radio contact, the pilot reported an inflight emergency. The place was flying at about 30,000 to 40,000 feet when this emergency was reported.
F-15 jets are highly maneuverable tactical fighters that can reach speeds up to 1,800 miles per hour. The American Air Force has around 250 of these planes; each plane costs about $30 million.
Other F-15 jets have crashed in the past and common causes included pilot error and failure of a support structure for the jet.
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