After a journey of more than 2,200 kilometres, a private U.S. plane with an unresponsive pilot has crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, north of Jamaica.
The Socata TBM700, a high performance single-engine turboprop, set out for Naples, Florida from Rochester, New York at 8:45 am Friday. Air traffic controllers were last able to contact the pilot at around 10 a.m
Two US fighter jets were dispatched and flew alongside the Socata over the Atlantic. The pilot of the smaller plane was reportedly slumped over and the aircraft's windows were coated with frost. Officials say this could be a case of hypoxia, or a situation where there is a lack of oxygen in the cabin.
Maj. Basil Jarrett of the Jamaican Defense Force says the unresponsive pilot's plane went down 23 kilometres northeast of Port Antonio. There was no immediate information about the three people believed to be on board
FAA records show the plane is owned by a company based at the same address as a real estate firm in Rochester. The firm, Buckingham Properties, is owned by developer Larry Glazer, who also is president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association.
Rochester TV station WHAM reports Glazer and his wife Jane were on the plane according to his family.
According to the Buckingham Properties website, "Larry spends some of his spare time on the ground - gardening around his house with his wife, Jane; and some in the sky - flying his plane."
The incident marks the second time in less than a week that private pilot has become unresponsive during a flight. On Saturday, a pilot lost consciousness and his plane drifted into restricted airspace over the nation's capital. Fighter jets were also launched in that case and stayed with the small aircraft until it ran out of fuel and crashed Saturday into the Atlantic.