Unresponsive Cessna: Could the cause of the crash of the unresponsive Cessna 421 be the same as the Payne Stewart Learjet crash in 1999?
Coast Guard crews saw no signs Thursday that the pilot of a small plane survived when his Cessna went down in the Gulf of Mexico about three hours after two F-15 fighter jets tried to make contact with him.
Coast Guard Chief John Edwards said the plane landed right-side up on the ocean surface and had been floating right after the crash. Planes did not see a life raft deploy or anything to indicate the pilot — the lone person aboard — was alive, the Coast Guard said.
The twin-engine Cessna 421C later sank into the Gulf about 120 miles (200 kilometers) west of Tampa, Fla., in about 1,500 feet (460 meters) of water. A C130 and a helicopter were looking for debris from the submerged plane, said Petty Officer Elizabeth Borderland. A Coast Guard cutter would remain in the area all night, she said.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the plane was flying from Slidell, Louisiana, to Sarasota, Florida. She said controllers lost contact with the pilot at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT). The Coast Guard said it went down about 12:10 p.m. (1710 GMT).