A Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 fighter jet crashed this morning in the mountains of central Virginia, reports NBC29. There is no sign of the pilot, who may have ejected before his plane crashed near the rural community of Deerfield; a state police helicopter has begun a search. The F-15 was en route from Massachusetts to New Orleans when a DC-area airport lost contact and reported it missing. Around 9am, people reported a "loud boom," followed by black smoke rising from a mountainside, the Augusta County Sheriff's Office tells WJLA.
"It's the loudest noise I've ever heard," a neighbor tells the AP. "[It] just shook the ground, and from my house we could just see a big plume of smoke." A hazmat crew is on the scene; cleanup of toxic chemicals from the jet is expected to last at least a day. There were no reported injuries to local residents.