The pilot of a Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcon that crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Tuesday night has been declared dead following two days of search efforts.

The Air Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing made that sad announcement Thursday evening.

The pilot’s identity will not be released for a full 24 hours after the pilot's family members are notified.

Authorities say the fighter jet crashed in the Hiawatha National Forest in Delta County, Near Escanaba, and 250 miles northeast of its Wisconsin base. The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs says the F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field Air National Guard Base, in Madison, crashed about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The 115th Fighter Wing helped to coordinate a search effort that included local emergency responders, the US Coast Guard, and other government agencies. Search efforts from the air and on the ground Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss; our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” 115th Fighter Wing commander Col. Bart Van Roo said. “Today is a day for mourning, the 115th Fighter Wing and the entire Wisconsin National Guard stands with the pilot’s family as we grieve the loss of a great Airman, and patriot.”
“We are an extremely close knit group at the fighter wing, the loss of one of our own brings immeasurable sadness to every member of our organization.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

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