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January 29, 2013

Recovered debris thought to be wreckage of missing aircraft

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, similar to the one pictured here, from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, lost communication with the base during a training mission Jan. 28, 2013, over the Adriatic Sea. United States and Italian military officials, along with Italian civilian authorities, continue to search for the pilot and aircraft.

Italian search teams have recovered debris in the Adriatic Sea believed to belong to an F-16 Fighting Falcon which went missing during a nighttime training mission Jan. 28.

The fighter jet, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, was performing a training mission when the base lost contact with the pilot at approximately 8 p.m. Italian aircraft and ships were quickly dispatched to the missing jet’s last known location; 10 to 15 nautical miles east of Cervia, Italy.

U.S. military officials are coordinating search and rescue efforts with Italian military and civilian teams.
While the effort has not yet found any sign of the pilot, the search continues.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support and coordination we’ve received from the Italian people and government,” said Brig. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist, the 31st Fighter Wing commander. “From the initial notification, everyone involved has shown complete dedication to finding our missing Airman.”

More information will be released as it becomes available. A board of officers will investigate the incident.




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