UPDATE: Small plane with unresponsive pilot crashes into Gulf

POSTED: Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 11:57am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 12:15pm

A small plane that had circled the Gulf of Mexico with an apparently unresponsive pilot Thursday morning has crashed, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Christopher O'Neil says.

Original Report: The U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force jets are monitoring a small plane with an unresponsive pilot over the Gulf of Mexico, the services reported Thursday.

A Federal Aviation Administration source told CNN the twin-engine Cessna 421 has been circling at 28,000 feet, roughly 150 miles south of Crestview, Florida. The plane took off from Slidell, Louisiana, en route to Sarasota, Florida, with a single pilot on board, the source said.

Fighter jets from the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted the aircraft Thursday morning and are watching the plane from the air, NORAD spokeswoman Stacey Knott said.

And Coast Guard aircraft from Mobile, Alabama, and the Florida-based cutter Coho are preparing for a possible crash or landing, Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil said.


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