F-16 Pilot Believed to be Dead, Wife Expecting
SHAW AFB, SC (WIS) - The Air Force and Coast Guard believe the accident that caused a Shaw-based F-16 pilot to crash was "most certainly fatal."
In a news conference late Saturday a spokesperson said they believe Captain Nicholas Giglio died immediately after his jet crashed.
In a news conference officials went on to say they believe Giglio was relatively new to F-16's. They also said he was new to Shaw Air Force Base.
Military officials said Captain Giglio is leaving behind a wife, daughter and a baby is on the way.
The effort to find Captain Giglio is has officially gone from "active" to "recovery."
Aircraft and ships have been searching more than 4,000 square miles of ocean northeast of Charleston since Captain. Nicholas Giglio's F-16 Fighting Falcon disappeared following a mid-air collision.
The water temperature in the area of the crash is about 75 degrees, although a cold front has moved through since the crash. Temperatures along the South Carolina coast Saturday were expected to only rise to about 60.
Officials said after the crash that there were reports of debris and an oil slick in the water.
There has also been no signal from beacons that would have been on Giglio's ejection seat and on his flight suit.
Giglio, originally from New Jersey, has been a fighter pilot for 18 months and is part of the 77th Fighter Squadron that is training for deployment to Iraq early next year.
I would like to thank Capt. Giglio for his dedication and service, and his family for lending us their husband, son, and dad. I know he will be in many thoughts and prayers across the country.
God bless his family even as I continue to hold out hope that he will be found.
The search has been called off.
After a 48-hour search for Giglio and his plane, which yielded only small pieces of aircraft debris, the search was called off Saturday night. It had covered more than 8,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean about 30 nautical miles northeast of Charleston.
"If Capt. Giglio had ejected safely from the aircraft, we are confident that we would have found him," said Capt. Michael F. McAllister, Coast Guard sector commander in Charleston.
Col. Joseph Guastella, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw, said that no trace of Giglio had been found, and that an analysis of Bryant's plane indicated that the collision had been "traumatic." Guastella also said that Giglio probably had died "instantly."
"The speed and the geometry at which the aircraft hit breached Capt. Giglio's canopy, and the injuries he sustained are most certainly fatal," said Guastella. "He had no opportunity to eject from that aircraft. We will make every effort to recover Capt. Giglio's aircraft and his remains. (And) we will continue to investigate this accident."