U.S. Pilot’s Body Found Off Coast of Italy

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(CNN) — The body of an Air Force pilot has been found off the coast of Italy, three days after the F-16 he was flying went missing, his family announced Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that the body Capt. Lucas Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea this afternoon. A compassionate husband, a loving son, and a devoted brother; Luc leaves behind a family who loves him dearly and a legacy of achievement,” the family statement said.

Controllers lost contact with the F-16 around 8 p.m. Monday (2 p.m. ET) while the jet was on a training flight, the U.S. Air Force reported.

Italian search teams found debris believed to be from the fighter jet Tuesday.

The aircraft was based at Aviano Air Base, a key NATO installation in northern Italy.

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