KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The body of an Air Force F-16 pilot who went missing during a night training flight late Monday was found Thursday off the coast of Italy, his family announced in a statement.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that the body of Captain Lucas Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea this afternoon,” the statement said.
Gruenther and his F-16 Fighting Falcon went missing at about 8 p.m. Monday roughly 150 miles south of Aviano Air Base, where his unit, the 31st Fighter Wing, is based.
A massive search effort ensued, including Italian coast guard and navy ships, fishing vessels and an assortment of planes, including other F-16s from the wing.
In their statement, the family gave thanks for the outpouring of support it received over the nearly four days since Gruenther went missing.
“We especially want to extend our deepest gratitude to the many people who volunteered their time and resources to help bring Luc home,” the statement said.