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Search for missing F-15 pilot expands

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. (AFNS) -- The search for the missing 104th Fighter Wing pilot expands with Air Force resources as day breaks over the Washington National Forest near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 104th Fighter Wing crashed at approximately 9:05 a.m. Wednesday; radio contact with the pilot was lost about 5 minutes earlier.

Since Wednesday morning, a search and rescue operation has been on-going in Virginia. The search efforts now include a specially equipped HC-130 aircraft assigned to Moody Air Force Base, this aircraft has specialized equipment designed for low-light/night-time search and rescue operations. The HC-130 has been conducting air operation since 3:00 a.m. Additionally as many as seven helicopters have been conducting aerial night searches.

Throughout the day Wednesday, at least 100 state police, sheriff's deputies and fire and rescue personnel had been on scene. The ground search slowed overnight due to the dangerous terrain around the crash site. Approximately 10 search-and-rescue teams were on the ground searching along logging roads, fire trails and forest roads. The terrain is too treacherous for off-road ground searches in the dark, according to Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police Public Relations Manager.

The search for the missing pilot and the investigation into the crash are ongoing.




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