WAUKESHA/VIRGINIA (WITI/AP) — The Coast Guard says the pilot of a small airplane lost consciousness while flying and the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the Virginia coast.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn says crews are searching for the plane. It crashed Saturday, August 30th about 50 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island. As of 7:00 p.m. Saturday, nothing had been found.
Littlejohn says the Coast Guard in Portsmouth was notified about 2:40 p.m. that the plane failed to land in Manassas, Virginia, and continued into restricted air space in Washington, D.C.
Two Air Force jets confirmed the pilot was unconscious and stayed with the plane until it eventually ran out of fuel and crashed.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson says the plane was heading from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Manassas.
Littlejohn says no one else was aboard the plane.
The U.S. Coast Guard has issued this statement on its investigation:
The Coast Guard is responding to a plane crash Saturday approximately 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District in Portsmouth received notification at approximately 2:40 p.m. that a single-engine Cessna aircraft with only the pilot aboard failed to land at Manassas Regional Airport as scheduled. Instead the Cessna remained at an altitude of approximately 13,000 feet and continued into restricted air space in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.
Two U.S. F-16 aircraft came alongside the Cessna to investigate and observed the pilot to be unconscious in the cockpit.
The F-16 airmen escorted the Cessna on its course over the Eastern Shore of Virginia until it eventually ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Coast Guard 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 Virignia Beach, to respond.
Crews are searching for the plane and pilot by air and by sea.
FOX6 News has learned the plane -- a Cirrus SR-22T, is registered to a Brookfield man. The identity of the pilot is unknown at this time.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this story.