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Deerfield, Va. (AP) — An Air Force jet based in Massachusetts crashed in the mountains of western Virginia on Wednesday, shaking the ground and frightening residents, and officials said the pilot's status was unknown.
No injuries were reported on the ground, but authorities were still trying to reach the crash site — located through its heavy smoke coming from a mountainside — on Wednesday.
The pilot of the single-seat F-15C was with the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield, spokesman Maj. Matthew Mutti said.
The jet was on a standard training exercise with no munition onboard, Mutti said. He didn't say where it was headed or release the pilot's name.
Military officials in Washington told local authorities in Augusta County that they had lost communication with a jet, according to Augusta County dispatcher Becky Coynter. She said witnesses reported an explosion-like noise just before 9 a.m.
"It's the loudest noise I've ever heard," 63-year-old Rebecca Shinaberry, who lives on a farm about two miles away, told The Associated Press. "(It) just shook the ground, and from my house we could just see a big plume of smoke."
Deerfield is about 135 miles northwest of Richmond.
F-15s are maneuverable tactical fighters that can reach speeds up to 1,875 mph, according to the Air Force website. The F-15C Eagle entered the Air Force inventory in 1979 and costs nearly $30 million, the website says.