UPDATE: The commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard fighter wing at Barnes said that the pilot was operating at a normal altitude when a problem developed. The pilot then notified air traffic control in Washington D.C. before losing contact with the ground. The pilot has not been located.
Col. James Keefe, Commander of the 104th Fighter wing based at Barnes answered questions during a press conference at the Westfield base.
In a press release, Lt. Anthony Mutti said, "The pilot flying the F-15C made a report of an inflight emergency prior to radio contact being lost. Subsequently there were reports of dark smoke being seen around the aircrafts last known whereabouts. Local law enforcement arrived on scene and confirmed the aircraft crashed."
The jets normally operate at 30,000 to 40,000 feet with regular air traffic.
The crash site is at least five or six miles from "civilized" areas, according to the spokesperson. Barnes is sending a communications unit to the scene, equipped with satellite phones. The Virginia Air National Guard is helping in the search.
A F-15 fighter jet from the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield has crashed in Deerfield, Virginia. No word yet on the status of the pilot.
The Base posted on its Facebook page that the F-15C crashed at 9:05 a.m. and the status of the pilot is not known. The post continued, "We will continue to keep the pilot and the family in our thoughts and prayers."
Deerfield is located in the George Washington National Forest, just over 130 miles west of Richmond.
Fox News said the jet was based out of Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield.
The official said the F-15C single-seat jet was from the 104th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard based in Westfield, Massachusetts, and was traveling on a training flight.
This photo was taken near the crash site.