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Italian F-16 from 37 Stormo crashes into the sea

February 11, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - A AMI F-16 crashed into the sea today at 20.00h off the coast of Sicily in between the islands of Levanzo & Marettimo. The pilot ejected, sustaining limited injuries.

AMI F-16A ADF MM7247 from 18 Gruppo. This particular airframe was reported to have crashed today.

Italian news agencies report that an F16 belonging to the Trapani-based 37° Stormo had crashed during a night training mission 15 miles from Levanzo Island. Contact was lost by local radar station just prior to the loss.

The pilot, identified as Commander Maurizio De Angelis, aged 38 was from 18 Gruppo.

Weather conditions may have played a factor as a violent thunderstorm was reported to be in the region at the time of the incident.

Coast Guard and Airforce C-SAR rescue teams from 15° Stormo assisted in the recovery. De Angelis was recovered by a motor patrol boat from the Harbour Masters Office and was airlifted to a hospital where he is now recovering.

Colonel Gianluca Di Battista from 37° Stormo has reported it was to early to speculate on the reason of the crash. A board of enquiry will be set up in due course.

The F-16 has been identified as F-16A ADF MM7247 delivered to the AMI under the Peace Caesar delivery program.