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, was performing a training mission when the base lost contact with the pilot at approximately 2000 local time. 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."
The Italian News Agency LePresse reported that an alarm signal had been received from the airplane before it disappeared. Three other aircraft were flying the training mission, and all made it back to the Aviano Air Base. The weather was reported to be poor at the time of the accident.