A military jet crashed yesterday in sparsely populated Deerfield, Virginia. Though such mishaps are fairly common, what’s troubling is the fact the pilot, who locals claim ejected right before the jet crashed into the suburbia, hasn’t been found. There has been no contact or any kind of homing beacon recorded.
As reported by The Inquisitr, an F-15C military jet came down on Elliot’s Knob in a rural area of the conjoined George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The jet crashed with a huge explosion and soon a thick pillar of smoke could be seen for miles. Fortunately, the pilot managed to crash the jet into an unpopulated area, and no one has been reported to be hurt or injured. However, the pilot himself is missing.
The single-seat jet was reportedly on a routine training exercise and carried no ammunition, confirmed officials. The Augusta County’s sheriff department quickly secured the area after the jet crashed at around 9 a.m. local time.
Eyewitnesses confirmed that they did see the pilot eject before the military jet crashed. Locals said they saw a parachute being deployed high up in the air. However, no one knows where the pilot landed. Confirming the intensification of the search for the missing pilot, Colonel James Keefe, the 104th Fighter Wing Commander said,
“At this time we have not had contact with the pilot.”
However, he was quick to point out that the unidentified officer was quite experienced in the art of flying high-speed jets and that he has been well trained in the art of survival techniques too,
“He is well-trained to survive. It is a traumatic event for everyone here. We are thinking about the family.”
Why was an experienced pilot flying a jet meant for training? The military jet was flying from Westfield, Mass., to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans to have its radar system upgraded, confirmed officials at the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base, reported The Boston Globe.
The skill of the pilot is apparent from the way he handled the jet which must have developed technical snag mid-flight. The pilot radioed a distress signal to air traffic controllers near Washington at 9:05 a.m. before losing contact. Shortly afterwards, reports came in about a cloud of dark smoke rising from the crash site.
Despite continuous aerial sweeps by a helicopter and personnel from the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, FBI, Federal Aviation Administration, and the Virginia Air National Guard combing the area on foot as well, the whereabouts of the pilot are still unknown.
The military has deployed an aircraft with night vision equipment too. So far about 100 State Police, sheriff’s deputies, and fire and rescue personnel have been directly involved in the manhunt. At this point, it is a bit difficult to speculate the condition of the pilot, but experts are dismissing any negative hunches by speculating the pilot of the crashed military jet might have ejected without his survival kit, which includes a radio and a locator.
[Image Credit |Back Roads West]