U.S. pilot's body found off coast of Italy
January 31, 2013 -- Updated 2005 GMT (0405 HKT)
The body of an Air Force Capt. Lucas Gruenther has been found off the coast of Italy, three days after he went missing.
- NEW: The body of the U.S. pilot has been found
- The F-16 went went missing Monday over the Adriatic Sea
- Debris from the jet was discovered Wednesday
(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.
Read more: U.S. jet missing off Italy; search for pilot under way
"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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