Wisconsin Air National Guard Announces Death Of Pilot In Tuesday Crash

115th Fighter Wing To Provide Update Friday Morning

A F-16 Fighting Falcon from Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing takes off from Buckley Air Force Base as part of a second flyover to salute COVID-19 front line workers Friday, May 15, 2020, in Aurora, Colo. David Zalubowski/AP Photo

The pilot from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing whose F-16 crashed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Tuesday is dead, according to the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

The pilot won’t be identified until 24 hours after their family has been notified.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” 115th Fighter Wing commander Col. Bart Van Roo said in a statement.

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The crash occurred in Hiawatha National Forest at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. The 115th Fighter Wing, the U.S. Coast Guard and local first responders searched for the pilot overnight and into Wednesday, according to an update shared Wednesday morning. The pilot was the only person onboard the plane.

“We are an extremely close-knit group at the fighter wing, and the loss of one of our own brings immeasurable sadness to every member of our organization,” Roo said.

The 115th Fighter Wing had planned to conduct nighttime training missions this week, according to a post on the unit’s Facebook page that advised Madison-area residents they may hear planes taking off or landing around 10 p.m.

“The 115th Fighter Wing is appreciative of the community support provided to its members and will release additional details as they become available,” a Thursday afternoon news release from the Department of Military Affairs said.

Two 115th Fighter Wing Facebook posts about the crash had received more than 1,000 comments offering prayers and support.

The crash is under investigation.