Search underway for F-16 military aircraft in Gulf of Mexico

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

F-16 fighter jet (file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) – Air Force officials say they believe an F-16 fighter jet has crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.

A news release from Tyndall Air Force Base says the jet was on a routine training mission over the Gulf Thursday morning when the Florida Panhandle base lost contact with the pilot.

Aircraft and rescue forces were immediately sent to the missing jet’s last known location.

No wreckage has been found, but officials are working under the assumption that the plane went down in the water. The U.S. Coast Guard is leading the search and said in a news release that crews first responded to a location about 57 miles south of Panama City.

325 Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Mark O’Laughlin says in the Air Force news release that finding the pilot is the top priority.