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Military jet crashes in Virginia

A U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jet has crashed in western Virginia, a senior Pentagon official tells Fox News.

The official said the F-15C single-seat jet was from the 104th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard based in Westfield, Mass., and was traveling on a training flight to Barnes Air National Guard base in New Orleans.  

No injuries were reported on the ground as authorities located the crash site through heavy smoke on a mountainside.

The jet was on a standard training exercise to receive a system upgrade and had no munition onboard, said Maj. Matthew Mutti, from Barnes Air National Guard Base. He didn't release the pilot's name.

The pilot made a report of an in-flight emergency, then lost radio contact, officials said.

"Information on this incident is developing rapidly, and we are not going to speculate on what occurred or the status of the pilot," Col James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander, said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the pilot is OK, and the pilot will be in our thoughts and prayers."

Witnesses reported an explosion-like noise just before 9 a.m., according to Augusta County dispatcher Becky Coynter.

"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. The Air Force has nearly 250 of them.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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