Search for missing US couple after private plane crashes
A private plane with its windows frosted and its pilot slumped over flew a ghostly 1,700-mile journey down the east coast of America and beyond, before finally crashing in the waters off Jamaica on Friday.
The plane's pilot had indicated there was a problem and twice asked to descend to a lower altitude before permission was granted by an air traffic controller, according to a recording of the radio conversation. Radio contact with the plane was lost a short time later.
The plane was carrying prominent New York-based real estate developer Larry Glazer and his wife Jane when it went down about 14 miles north-east of the coastal town of Port Antonio. The couple's destination was Florida.
Jamaica's military dispatched two aircraft and a dive team. Major Basil Jarrett of the Jamaican Defence Force said: "An oil slick indicating where the aircraft may have gone down has been spotted in the area where we suspect the crash took place." No wreckage has been found, but Jarrett said search teams were scouring the waters.
The Glazers' son said his parents were both licensed pilots. He said he couldn't confirm they were killed, adding that "we know so little".
Larry Glazer ran the development firm Buckingham Properties. He owned the plane he was flying and was president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association.
"The Glazers were innovative and generous people who were committed to revitalising downtown Rochester," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The plane took off at 8:45am and air traffic controllers were last able to contact it at 10am, said the US Federal Aviation Administration.
At 10:40am, two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from a National Guard base in South Carolina to investigate, according to a statement by the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Those jets handed off monitoring duties around 11:30am to two F-15 fighters from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.
The US jets followed the plane until it reached Cuban airspace, when they peeled off.
On Saturday, another pilot lost consciousness and his plane drifted into restricted airspace. Fighter jets were also launched in that case and stayed with the aircraft until it ran out of fuel and crashed.