A Socata TBM-700 aircraft that was pursued by two NORAD F-15 fighter jets after failing to respond to radio calls has crashed off the coast of Jamaica, officials said Friday. The plane went down about 14 miles northeast of Port Antonio, a spokesman for the Jamaican military told the Associated Press. The Jamaican military sent aircraft to investigate the crash site.
The single-engine turbo-prop aircraft is owned by a company located at the same address as Buckingham Properties, a Rochester-based real estate firm. The company is owned by Larry Glazer, a real estate developer who also serves as president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association, the AP notes. Glazer and his wife, Jane, were the plane's only passengers at the time of the crash, his son, Ken, told CNBC.
The aircraft’s pilot was seen “unconscious and slumped over” in the cockpit, U.S. officials said. NORAD suspects at the Socata TBM-700’s occupants may have suffered from hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation caused by rapid changes in cabin pressure. Condensation was seen on the Socata TBM-700’s windows.
Scheduled to fly from Rochester, New York, to Naples, Florida, the aircraft’s pilot stopped responding to air traffic controllers at around 10 a.m. ET, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The plane flew hundreds of miles off course; the two F-15s pursued until it entered Cuban airspace. The fighter jets then re-fueled and resumed their pursuit when the plane exited Cuban jurisdiction.
Built by France’s Daher-Socata, the Socata TBM-700 can hold as many as seven people and is one of the fastest single-engine turbo-props available in the general aviation market. It has been in production since 1988, with periodic upgrades that boosted the aircraft’s horsepower, speed and range.