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Local Navy divers to help with recovery of F-16 jet involved in mid-air collision

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-07 17:42:28-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - After a nighttime training mission gone horribly wrong, a DC Air National Guard pilot was left floating on an emergency life raft in the Atlantic.

That is, until a local Coast Guard helicopter team came to his rescue.

But his F-16 Falcon Fighter Jet wasn't so lucky. Today, the multi-million dollar military plane still sits submerged at the bottom of the Atlantic, about 30 miles off the coast of the Eastern Shore.

DC Air National Guard officials tell NewsChannel 3 they hope to retrieve the jet out of the water by the end of the week, but first they have to find it.

Even though they have coordinates of where the plane went down, with strong currents and tides, they say it might have moved.

Survey ships have yet to locate the sunken jet.

But when they do, it will be retrieved by local Navy divers.

The DC Air National Guard says they reached out to Joint Base Little Creek Fort Story in Virginia Beach, asking the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command to help in the jet recovery.

According to Little Creek, a mobile diving and salvage unit will be sent once they have a plan and a location.

According to the latest estimates, the jet is in about 100 feet of water which is well within the abilities of the elite diving teams.

They will work to hook up the jet to a salvage ship being provided by the Military Sealift Command, and only at that point will the DC National Guard be able to see the full extent of the jet's damage and whether they will be able to fix it to fly again.

Related: 

Coast Guard rescues F-16 pilot after mid-air collision near Chincoteague