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US F-16 jet goes missing off Italy

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 11:50 hrs

Rome, Jan 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A search is underway for a US F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet that went missing on a training flight off the coast of Italy.

The ANSA news agency said the headquarters of the US 31st Fighter Wing stationed at the Aviano air base in Italy lost contact with the aircraft around 8 p.m. Monday, shortly after the pilot reported a problem.

The US aircraft from Aviano as well as units of Italian Coast Guard and air force are involved in the search-and-rescue effort off the coast of Ravenna province in the northwestern part of the Adriatic Sea.

The plane did not carry any weaponry on board during the mission, according to a statement by the US Air Force.

Experts believe the aircraft has crashed in the Adriatic but the pilot could have survived.

The average age of the F-16s, considered the workhorse of the US fighter fleet, is 22 to 24 years.

Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

pm/vt




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