Body of US pilot of missing F-16 found in Adriatic

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Associated Press

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 9:33 AM

ROME (AP) — The body of a U.S. Air Force pilot whose F-16 fighter jet went missing Monday during a nighttime training mission has been found in the Adriatic Sea.

The family of Capt. Lucas Gruenther said his body was found on Thursday afternoon.

Italian rescue teams were joined by F-16s in the search for Gruenther, and earlier in the week recovered debris believed to belong to his aircraft.

In a statement, the Gruenther family thanked "the many people who volunteered their time and resources to help bring Luc home."

Gruenther was with the 31st Fighter Wing, based at Aviano Air Base in Italy. The Air Force declined to give his age.

The Modesto (Calif.) Bee newspaper has reported that Gruenther is from Twain Harte, California.

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