Two people on board a small U.S. private plane with an unresponsive pilot were killed, a New York county official said, according to a Reuters report. The seven-seat aircraft, a Socata TBM-700, crashed off the coast of Jamaica on Friday after veering off its course toward southwest Florida.
The single-engine, turbo-prop aircraft was reportedly carrying Larry Glazer, a real estate developer, and his wife, Jane. Authorities could not confirm if anyone else was on the plane. The plane reportedly went down about 14 miles northeast of the coastal town of Port Antonio.
Jamaica's Civil Aviation Authority reportedly said that the search and rescue teams, which included a helicopter and a military plane, were sent to the crash site. A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane has also been involved in the search effort.
The incident occurred after the pilot of the plane failed to respond to radio calls an hour after taking off from Rochester, New York, on a course that would take them to Naples Municipal Airport in Florida.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said in a statement that two American F-15 jets were trailing the plane as it went over the Atlantic, but had gone back to base to refuel when the plane crashed.
According to reports, shortly before the pilot stopped responding to the air traffic control, he had requested for a permission to fly at a lower altitude as he felt that something was “not correct” in the plane.
The agency also reportedly said that they suspected that the incident took place due to a “possible hypoxia,” a rare condition which is usually caused by loss of cabin pressure.
Maj. Basil Jarrett of the Jamaica Defense Force said at a press conference in Kingston late Friday that authorities were “fairly confident” that an oil slick found in the water near Port Antonio was from the plane.
According to Reuters, a statement from the Cuban government late Friday said: “Throughout the whole time communication was maintained with the North American authorities who were informed of every measure taken in relation to this incident."