Small plane with unresponsive pilot crashes into Gulf of Mexico
A Cessna 421, similar to the one pictured, reportedly circled the Gulf of Mexico for hours before crashing.
April 19th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

Small plane with unresponsive pilot crashes into Gulf of Mexico

[Updated at 2:16 p.m. ET]  A small plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed in the central Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after circling above the ocean for more than two hours, but it appeared intact after hitting the water, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

The tail of the twin-engine Cessna 421 remained sticking out of the Gulf about 120 miles west of Tampa, Florida, after it went down at 12:08 p.m. ET, said Chief Petty Officer John Edwards, a Coast Guard spokesman. The crew of a Coast Guard search-and-rescue plane watched as the Cessna made what appeared to be a soft landing, Edwards said.

A Coast Guard helicopter and the cutter Coho were expected to reach the site Thursday afternoon, he said.

The plane took off from Slidell, Louisiana, en route to Sarasota, Florida, with a single pilot on board, and had been circling at an altitude of about 28,000 feet, a Federal Aviation Administration source told CNN. The Air Force began monitoring the plane after noticing it flying erratically over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning, and planes sent up to investigate it reported the Cessna's windows were either iced or fogged over, Edwards said.

Mike Maddox, a manager at the Slidell airfield where the plane took off, confirmed there was a situation with a plane and said family members had been notified, but he had no further comment.

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Filed under: Air travel • Military • U.S. Coast Guard
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    CNN: A small plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed in the central Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after circling above the ocean for more than two hours.

    JF: Let's see guys..Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, Southern, and oh look...CNN says we got a new ocean...the "Gulf Of Mexico"!!! ;)

    April 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • deborah

      So glad I am not the only one that noticed that ...! I hate it when people say they are going to Gulf Shores or PC Beach ... to THE OCEAN – its not an ocean, its the GULF of MEXICO!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Perhaps you need to go back to geography class, yourself. A gulf is defined as "a large bay that is an arm of an ocean or sea". The Gulf of Mexico is specifically "an ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba". It is an "arm" of the Atlantic Ocean. For CNN to state that the plane circled over the ocean for two hours is correct. Have a nice day!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. DR Diana Gillmore

    That Pilot that went down was a fabulous human being and my exhusband,which we were getting back together, We had been married for 13 years. Instead of idiots who know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about what they're talking about, why don't you keep your comments to yourself!! He was a husband,and a Father of two- have some compsassion!!!

    April 25, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. DR Diana Gillmore

    This comment is for the absolutely pathetic person who calls themself "yodadude".HOW DARE you state he committed suicide–you have absolutly NO details, and you degrade a FABULOUS human being, a father of two and a FABULOUS husband!! He also was an EXTREMELY accomplished pilot who knew our plane inside out and prob. as good a mechanic as he was a pilot! He NEVER skimped on ANYTHING when it came to our plane. And for you to say his "attorney and myself" provided important information that supports he committed suicide is an ABSOLUTE LIE, and YOU KNOW IT!!! You are nothing but a piece of slim, so crawl back under the rock you came out from!!!

    April 30, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. yogi

    A man died.RIP

    May 1, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
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