Coast Guard Suspends Search After Plane Crashes Off Coast of Chi - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Coast Guard Suspends Search After Plane Crashes Off Coast of Chincoteague Island

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An example of the type of plane that the Coast Guard says crashed into the Atlantic Ocean Saturday An example of the type of plane that the Coast Guard says crashed into the Atlantic Ocean Saturday
 CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (WBOC/AP) - The Coast Guard suspended its search at 11:30 a.m. Sunday for a pilot who lost consciousness and crashed a small airplane into the Atlantic Ocean about 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island.

Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn says the search was halted Sunday morning after a civilian boater recovered a wheel and engine cowling from the single-engine Cirrus. Littlejohn says the chances of finding anything else were slim. He says both items are scheduled to be turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Coast Guard says an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew searched for the pilot and the wreckage until sunset Saturday and the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Beluga searched through the night until Sunday morning for wreckage or any sign of the pilot aboard the downed aircraft.

The Coast Guard says the plane had left Waukesha, Wisconsin, and was headed to Manassas, Virginia. The pilot, whose name has not been released, was the only person on board, according to authorities.

The Coast Guard says watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District in Portsmouth received notification at approximately 2:40 p.m. Saturday that the single-engine Cirrus aircraft failed to land at Manassas Regional Airport as scheduled. Instead, the Coast Guard says the Cirrus remained at an altitude of approximately 13,000 feet and continued into restricted air space in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.
 
The Coast Guard says, two U.S. NORAD F-16 aircraft came alongside the Cirrus to investigate and discovered the pilot to be unconscious in the cockpit.
 
The F-16 airmen escorted the Cirrus on its course over the Eastern Shore of Virginia until it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
 
The Coast Guard says they launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina and the crew of Cutter Beluga, homeported in Virginia Beach, to respond Saturday afternoon.

The plane was registered to Ronald Hutchinson, of Brookfield, Wisconsin.

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