Air Force takes lead in continuing search for missing airman, family releases statement


OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The U.S. Air Force announced Friday night they have taken the lead role in the search for an airman.

29-year-old Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff went missing after an unplanned parachute departure from a plane on Tuesday.

The Coast Guard called off its search Friday. The Air Force says the search has transitioned to a recovery effort, and recovery teams are refining and adjusting the search area. The U.S. Navy has also joined the effort. Coast Guard air and boat crews spent over 130 hours on scene and searched more than 4,909 square-nautical miles over the course of four days, but were unable to locate the airman.

“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,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Matt Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing in a press release. “We will continue our recovery effort as long as circumstances and resources allow to bring our Airman home.”

Condiff’s family released a statement Saturday.

“Cole loved his country and was honored to serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy. Cole had a deep faith in God. Although we mourn, it is through our faith that we take comfort in knowing we will be with him again. He loved his family. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother and friend. He will be greatly missed by all. We would like to express our deepest and unending gratitude to those that have searched so diligently. We would also like to thank those who have been and continue to stand at the ready to help serve the family in this time of crisis. We ask for continued prayers as his wife and daughters move forward without their beloved husband and daddy. Please pray for all of our military men, women, and families.”

The Condiff Family

Condiff is survived by his wife and their two daughters as well as by his parents, sister and two brothers.  The Air Force is investigating the incident.

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