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Coast Guard suspends search for missing airman

Coast Guard suspends search for missing airman

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for the missing Air Force airman who fell from an aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico five days ago, officials said.

The search has now transitioned to a recovery effort and the U.S. Air Force is taking the lead, according to a statement from the Air Force on Friday.

PHOTO: Master Sgt. Marcus Hildebrand and Tech. Sgt. Patrick Englishby, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmasters, scan the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan

Master Sgt. Marcus Hildebrand and Tech. Sgt. Patrick Englishby, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmasters, scan the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the federal, state and local units that have aided in the search for our Airman, especially the U.S. Coast Guard,” U.S. Air Force Col. Matt Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, said. “We will continue our recovery effort as long as circumstances and resources allow to bring our Airman home.”

The Special Tactics airman fell from a C-130 aircraft on Tuesday over the Gulf of Mexico during a parachute training exercise. Officials have not yet released his identity, but will do so after the family has been notified.

PHOTO: Tech. Sgt. Brett Corriveau, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmaster, scans the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the inside of an HC-130P/N Combat King aircraft for any sign of the missing Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing.U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan

Tech. Sgt. Brett Corriveau, 39th Rescue Squadron loadmaster, scans the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the inside of an HC-130P/N Combat King aircraft for any sign of the missing Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing.

The Air Force is investigating the incident. It is still unclear what led to the fall and the Air Force did not respond to ABC News for further comment on Saturday.

Recovery teams are adjusting the search area as they move forward in their efforts, but no other details were provided.

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