A search for Capt. Nicholas Giglio, missing since Thursday night's crash, had involved Coast Guard helicopters, ships and private volunteers scouring some 8,000 square miles of Atlantic waters. Authorities said Saturday investigators believe Giglio died instantly during a night training exercise.
The Coast Guard had spent nearly two days conducting the search for the pilot in waters about 40 miles northeast of Charleston. Capt. Michael McAllister, director for the search, described that effort as exhaustive.
"If Capt. Giglio had ejected safely from the aircraft, we're confident we would have found him," McAllister said.
The other pilot was uninjured and landed his F-16 safely at Charleston Air Force Base.