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Pilot Killed: Air Force F-16 Crashes in Gulf of Mexico

 / Updated 
An F-16C Ethan Miller / Getty Images file

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An F-16 fighter jet crashed in the Gulf of Mexico early Thursday, killing the pilot, the Air Force said.

The F-16, assigned to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall Air Force Base in northwest Florida, was on a routine training mission over the Gulf when the base lost contact with the pilot at about 9:15 a.m., the Air Force said. The pilot's remains were later recovered from the Gulf, officials wrote on the base's Facebook page.

The jet went down about 60 miles south of Panama City, Florida, the Coast Guard said.

Air Force Col. Derek France of the 325th Fighter Wing said the pilot was the only person on board. The airman's identity wasn't released.

The colonel said the jet went down on "a routine training exercise with a single F-16 and an F-4 that were doing maneuvers out over the water."

— Miranda Leitsinger and M. Alex Johnson

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