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Family, Members of the 104th Await Word on Missing Pilot


WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — While the search goes on in the mountains of Virginia for a missing F-15C pilot, the wait goes on for the family of the pilot and members of the 104th Fighter Wing.

It’s been more than a day since the plane went down and many are still wondering about the status of the pilot.

As you would well expect, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, they anxiously await the fate of the missing pilot.

It has been a long day and a half for members of the pilot’s family and the 104th.

Thursday afternoon, ABC40’s Ray Hershel spoke with Major Matthew Mutti of the 104th Fighter Wing

RH: What is the mood like on the base?

Mutti: “To be honest, we’ve been anxious to learn of the pilot’s status. We’re optimistic. The pilot is well trained to survive. We’re doing everything we can to be focused on our primary mission of defending the Northeast, but also making sure we support the rescue effort underway in Virginia.”

RH: How is the family holding up?

Mutti: “The family understands our job is a dangerous one. Nobody wears the uniform without willing to risk their lives if they need to defend the country and the family understands that, but at the same time, we’re here to support them in any way we can, so we can bring the pilot home soon.”

RH: How unusual is it not to hear from pilot so long after crash>

Mutti: “Each crash is different. In this case, because of the terrain where the aircraft went down, it is difficult to communicate in that area. We don’t know if the pilot has a radio with him, we don’t know if it would work in that terrain.”

RH: How optimistic are you that the pilot will be found safely?

Mutti: “We train our pilots very well and we know he’s trained to survive in the event of an emergency and because of that training, we’re optimistic he’ll come home safe.”

So the community, the 104th, and the family waits to hear word on the missing F-15 pilot.

ABC40 will continue to follow this story from Virginia and Westfield. Stay with us on-air and online for the latest information.


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