The Air Force confirmed Thursday morning they have found the body of a Tuolumne County pilot who went missing earlier this week.
Captain Lucas Gruenther was serving in Italy, and was on a training flight Monday over the Adriatic Sea when the military lost contact with him. Debris from the F-16 Gruenther was in was found Tuesday, but the family had remained optimistic that he would be found alive.
However, Thursday morning, the military confirmed his body was found, releasing this statement:
“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. We will never fully recover from our loss, but take heart in the knowledge that during his all-too-short time in this world, he made a significant difference in the lives of all whom he met.
“We would like to thank the people around the world for your messages and your prayers. We especially want to extend our deepest gratitude to the many people who volunteered their time and resources to help bring Luc home.”