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Missing Military Jet, Pilot Believed To Have Crashed In Gulf of Mexico

F-16 Fighting Falcon
U.S. Air Force
F-16 Fighting Falcon

Search and rescue efforts are currently underway for a missing F-16 Fighting Falcon and its pilot. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida lost contact with the pilot at 9:15 a.m. Thursday.

Air Force officials have told the media they believe the military jet crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The aircraft is assigned to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group. Col. Scott Ward, commander of that group, said during a briefing with reporters that Air Force and Coast Guard search and rescue crews have found wreckage "50 to 75 miles south of Panama City" that could be what's left of the missing jet:

“It stinks to have something like this happen in your squadron or your group, but we’re just hoping for the best for the family and everybody that’s involved.”

The Air Force has not yet released the name of the missing pilot.