Officials are continuing the search for a missing pilot after two F-16 fighter planes collided 40 miles off the South Carolina coast Thursday evening.

Rescue personnel have already searched about 4,000 square nautical miles where searchers believe Capt. Nicholas Giglio or his plane could have drifted, Coast Guard spokesman Bobby Nash told the N.J. Star Ledger.

Col. Joe Guastella, the Commander of the 20th Fighter Wing, told the Star Ledger that they "remain hopeful" of finding Giglio.

Nearly 200 rescuers have been involved in the two-day search, including vessels from the Coast Guard, Navy, law enforcement and commercial shippers.

The effort has been hampered because emergency beacons attached to Giglio and the ejection seat of the aircraft failed to go off, the N.J. Star Ledger reported.

The Air Force training mission turned disastrous when the fighter planes collided toward the end of the 80-minute mission, which is conducted two to five times a week by Shaw Air Force Base pilots. Officials said Giglio has been a fighter pilot for 18 months and that he has distinguished himself since his arrival at Shaw a short time ago.

Coast Guard officials said a person can survive for at least 24 hours in the 74-degree water and ambient air temperature of the Atlantic.

On Friday, Capt. Michael McAllister says officials are presuming there is a pilot in the water and needs to be rescued.

"The lack of a beacon might indicate that the pilot didn't safety eject or that there was an equipment malfunction. It makes it more difficult for us since we don't have the beacon to hone in on," he said.

The jet piloted by Capt. Lee Bryant landed safely at Charleston Air Force Base, according to officials at the Shaw Air Force Base. Bryant was examined at the base but suffered no injuries and was released.

McAllister said visibility was good and winds were about 25 mph at the time of the collision. He said he did not think it was raining at the time.

The water temperatures in the crash area were about 75 degrees and most people could survive 24 hours, he said.

"Given that this was a military member they would probably be in good shape and have a will to live. We would expect it would be quite a bit more than the 24 hours," McAllister said.

Giglio graduated from Lacey Township High School in New Jersey in 1995, said the school district's assistant superintendent, Vanessa P. Clark. His mother, Helen Giglio, is a special education teacher at a district elementary school.

"Obviously, our hopes, thoughts and prayers are with the family," Clark said.

Shaw Air Force Base Col. Joseph Guastella said Giglio flew the same training flight several nights before the Thursday accident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.