January 31, 2013 / 4:05 PM / 5 years ago

Searchers recover U.S. F-16 pilot's body in Adriatic-statement

Cassy Gruenther embraces her husband, Capt. Lucas Gruenther, of the U.S. Air Force 31st Fighter Wing after returning from a deployment in 2011. Gruenther, 32, has been missing since officials at Aviano Air Base lost contact with the captain’s F-16 fighter jet January 28th during a nighttime training mission over the Adriatic Sea.U.S. Air Force

ROME (Reuters) - Search teams on Thursday recovered the body of a U.S. F-16 fighter jet pilot whose plane crashed in the Adriatic Sea three days ago, a statement from his family said.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that the body of Captain Lucas Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea this afternoon," said the statement, which was released by the U.S. Air Force.

Gruenther's jet went missing after it took off from Aviano Air Base on a training exercise on Monday evening.

Reporting by Steve Scherer

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