An F-15 military jet crashed in western Virginia early Wednesday, according to local media reports.
In Deerfield, Virginia, multiple news outlets have reported already that an aircraft crashed shortly after 9:00 a.m. local time in a wooded part of the region near Staunton, VA, around 180 miles west of Washington, DC. By 10:30, the Staunton News Leader had confirmed that a spokesperson for the National Travel Safety Board identified the aircraft as a military jet, and that a police scanner dispatch suggested one person had been on board.
Officials with the August County Sheriff’s Office told a local ABC News affiliate that a loud boom had been heard in the mountainous part of Deerfield at around 9:15 a.m., and that witnesses reported black smoke emerging from the scene. The News Leader also reported that Virginia State Police had been notified roughly at the same time of a plane crash, and that the debris was likely that of an F-15 jet.
“I’m on location, with smoke, and we do have debris,” the News Leader quoted a responder as saying just after 10:00 a.m. by way of an emergency radio dispatch. “I got debris everywhere… I haven’t located anybody.”
According to NBC News, the aircraft is a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C fighter. WCVB News reported out of Boston that Pentagon officials confirmed the jet had left Massachusetts and was en route to Louisiana.
WJLA has also reported that the Virginia State Police have dispatched a helicopter to search for the pilot of the jet, who may have ejected from the aircraft before the crash.