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MOUNTAIN HOME -- A helicopter crew from the Idaho Army National Guard has recovered the body of an airman from Mountain Home Air Force Base who died Sunday after falling into Bruneau Canyon.

The crew of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was able to retrieve the body of 22-year-old Airman 1st Class Alexander L. Van Meter from the canyon around 1 p.m. Monday. The recovery effort was led by the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office.

An U.S. Air Force official says Van Meter is from Herscher, Illinois, and is survived by his father and mother.

The death was reported by another airman, who told authorities the pair were hiking together Sunday when the man fell into the canyon near a popular overlook.

A recovery operation was called off Sunday evening because of safety concerns, the official said.

Van Meter was an electro-environmental technician with the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

We lost a valued member of the Gunfighter family, said Col. Chris Short, 366th Fighter Wing commander. This is a tragic event and our hearts go out to our airman s family and friends during this difficult time.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents and brother during this difficult time, said Lt. Col Jeremy Saunders, 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. It s with great sorrow that we mourn the loss of a mighty maintainer, team member and friend.

The cause of death is under investigation.

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