Pilot of F15 fighter jet killed in Virginia crash - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Pilot of F15 fighter jet killed in Virginia crash

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WESTFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Officials confirmed Thursday night that the pilot of the F-15C fighter jet was killed in the crash in Deerfield, Virginia on Wednesday.

The pilot's name is being withheld pending notification of family members.

In a press conference Thursday night, Col. James Keefe, Commander, 104th Fighter Wing, said the pilot received fatal injuries when the F-15C he was manning crashed.

Col. Keefe says Barnes ANG was notified at about 5 p.m. Thursday and that the remains of the pilot were discovered at the crash site.

It was first believed the pilot ejected from the jet prior to impact, but officials confirmed with CBS 3 Thursday he was not able to eject.

"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. Keefe. "We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the family and allow them the time they need to grieve," added Keefe.

Gov. Deval Patrick released the following statement Thursday night:

"This is a very sad day for the Guard and for Massachusetts. Throughout the last couple of days, as we learned the circumstances of this accident, we held out hope that the pilot would be found and returned safely to his family. Our prayers and condolences are with his family, the Wing Command and all the Members of the Massachusetts National Guard."

Senator Don Humason (R-2nd Hampden & Hampshire District) released this statement:

"I join with the men and women of the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes in the feelings of senseless loss and profound sadness.  The Barnestormers are a close knit group and are like part of the family of all of us in the greater Westfield area. When any part of that family is lost all of us mourn.  My most sincere condolences to the pilot's family, his co-workers, and fellow warriors.  In war and in peace it is still a dangerous job that few do as well, or as proudly and professionally, as the members of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.  God bless them all. Rest in Peace."

An official safety investigation board is being convened and the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

The single seat F-15C aircraft was en route to Naval Air Station New Orleans to receive a radar system upgrade. 

Washington Center Air Traffic Control lost contact with the F-15C aircraft at approximately 9:05 a.m. on Wednesday. Barnes Air National Guard Base Public Affairs Office says the aircraft crashed at approximately 9:30 a.m. in a remote site near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.

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