Fighter Jets Escorting Unresponsive Airplane Bound for Florida (UPDATE)
Update 3: NORAD and the FAA confirm the plane crashed 14 miles off the coast of Port Antonio, Jamaica at about 2:15 p.m. Only the pilot and his wife were aboard the flight.
Update 2: The AP is reporting that the plane has crashed in Jamaica. FlightAware.com no longer shows the plane on their tracker. (AP corrected their earlier report: Jamaican officials say the plane crashed off the coast of the island, not on land.)
Meanwhile, NORAD says they're working with the FAA to get an official status on the plane.
Update 1: According to NORAD, the plane is now headed past Cuban airspace. The F-15 fighter jets, meanwhile, have returned to base for refueling.
Original post: Two F-15 military fighter jets were escorting a small plane originally bound for Naples, Florida Friday after the plane went off course and the cabin would not respond to air traffic controllers.
According to the flight tracking website, FlightAware.com, the plane kept flying past south of Florida over the Atlantic into Cuban airspace.
The plane, a Socata TBM-700 single-engine turboprop, was en route to Naples from Rochester, New York, with a scheduled arrival at 11:59 a.m., according to FlightAware.
But when the pilot became unresponsive, NORAD officials sent the two jets off at around 11:30 a.m. to attempt to communicate with the pilot.
Once the plane entered Cuban airspace, the U.S. military jets broke off pursuit.
Unresponsive aircraft has entered Cuban airspace. #NORAD fighters have broken off trail.— NORAD & USNORTHCOM (@NoradNorthcom) September 5, 2014
However, NORAD continues to monitor the situation.
For the moment, NORAD is working on the theory of "possible hypoxia," which is a lack of oxygen in the cabin.
#NORAD F-15 fighter jets are currently escorting an unresponsive small aircraft over the Atlantic, possible hypoxia. More to follow.— NORAD & USNORTHCOM (@NoradNorthcom) September 5, 2014
"The plane's occupants did not respond to attempts to communicate," NORAD said in a statement. "The aircraft continues to be followed by NORAD jets."
This post will be updated as more information comes in.
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