01:34 - Source: CNN
Plane crashes in Virginia mountains

Story highlights

The pilot is missing; it's not known whether he ejected

He reported an in-flight emergency prior to the crash

Search-and-rescue personnel are scouring the area

(CNN) —  

The pilot of an Air National Guard F-15C fighter jet that crashed in Virginia was found dead, the commander of the unit said Thursday.

Air Force Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing commander, told reporters that searchers didn’t get into the remote crash site until Thursday afternoon. There were still fires and other hazards from Wednesday’s crash.

“People are on site. We actually have helicopters over the site doing the search-and-rescue mission, but we have not been able to talk to anybody,” he said.

The single-seat aircraft went down Wednesday morning in a remote, wooded area near the Virginia-West Virginia border. It was flying to New Orleans for a radar system upgrade and there were no missiles on board.

Prior to losing contact and the crash, the pilot reported an in-flight emergency, Keefe said.

There were no reports of injuries on the ground, said Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for Virginia State Police.

The state police got the call about the plane crash Wednesday morning, and smoke indicated the location of the crash.

The 104th Fighter Wing is based in Westfield, Massachusetts.