1/29/2013 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- U.S. military officials are coordinating search and rescue efforts with Italian military and civilian teams following the loss of communication with an Aviano F-16 fighter jet Monday evening.
The aircraft, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, was performing a training mission over the Adriatic Sea when the base lost contact with the pilot at approximately 8 p.m. Soon after, Italian aircraft and ships were dispatched to the missing jet's last known location.
While the aircraft has not been found, search teams are working under the assumption that the aircraft crashed in the Adriatic.
"The search for and rescue of our pilot is our top priority," said Col. David W. Walker, 31st Operations Group commander. "We want to assure the family and friends of the lost Airman that we are doing everything we can for this effort."
The pilot's condition is unknown at this time.
More information will be released as it becomes available.