UK & World News

  • 29 January 2013, 8:48

F-16 Fighter Jet Missing Over Adriatic Sea

A US fighter jet is feared to have crashed during a training exercise off the coast of Italy.

The US Air Force began a search operation, in poor weather conditions with limited visibility, after losing contact with the F-16.

The headquarters of the 31st Fighter Wing, at Aviano Air Base in Italy, issued a brief statement saying the aircraft had one pilot aboard when contact was lost over the Adriatic Sea.

The F-16 is not believed to have been carrying weapons.

Italy's Coast Guard confirmed it was helping in the search-and-rescue effort.

A helicopter, four Italian Coast Guard cutters and four commercial vessels were combing the waters 10 miles (16km) from Cervia, on the northern Adriatic coast.

"The search continues despite the darkness and the bad weather," a Coast Guard spokesman said.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon began service in the US military in the late 1970s.

The highly manoeuvrable jet has flown thousands of missions in support of operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the US Air Force.