MIAMI (CBSMiami) — An unresponsive plane flying over the Caribbean crashed off the island of Jamaica on Friday afternoon, according to Federal Aviation Administration officials.
The plane crashed into the ocean 14 miles off the northeastern coast of Jamaica near Port Antonio at about 2:15 p.m. Jamaican military officials said they sent aircraft to investigate. The investigation was called at nightfall on Friday. Recovery crews will go back out Saturday morning.
In a phone call with a WROC reporter, Ken Glazer confirmed that his father and mother, Larry and Jane Glazer, were both on the plane and both died in the crash.
Their children released a statement saying, “We are devastated by the tragic and sudden loss of our parents, Jane and Larry Glazer. We understand that there are many questions yet to be answered about today’s events, and we too are awaiting answers.”
The attorney for Larry Glazer, Mitchell Nusbaum, also spoke out hours after the crash.
“We hope that everyone will have their thoughts and prayers with the Glazers during this difficult time and that people will be able to and will respect their privacy,” said Nusbaum.
Authorities had been tracking the plane after the Glazer stopped responding to radio calls at around 10:00 a.m.
Shortly before that he radioed controllers saying he needed to descend. Over the radio, you could hear Glazer saying, “We need to descend down to about 180. We have an indication that is not correct in the plane.”
The controller responds, “Standby. 900 KN descend and maintain 250.”
Glazer says, “250. We need to get lower. 900 KN,” to which the controller responds, “Working on that.”
When Glazer stopped talking to air traffic control, fighter jets from Homestead Air Reserve base scrambled to investigate.
At 11:30 a.m. jet fighter planes launched to follow the small aircraft which was unresponsive and over the Atlantic Ocean at the time.
When pilots got up next to his plane, it was clear Glazer was in trouble. They could see he was slumped over, but still breathing. “I could see his chest rising and falling,” said one of the fighter pilots. “It may be a deal where depending on how fast they descend, he may regain consciousness once the aircraft starts descending,” the pilot said. That never happened. Instead, the windows were frosted, indicating the plane lost pressure and hypoxia set in because of lack of oxygen. Federal Aviation Administration officials said the plane had been flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet.
The Socata TBM-700 left Rochester, New York Friday just before 8:30 a.m and was scheduled to land in Naples, Florida in the afternoon. The FAA tracked them southbound along the east coast of Florida over the Atlantic flying into Bahamian and Cuban airspace. Shortly after they crashed.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) officials had tweeted earlier saying the this may be a possible case of hypoxia meaning those on board may not have gotten enough oxygen.
The incident marks the second time in less than a week that private pilot has become unresponsive during a flight.
On Saturday, a pilot lost consciousness and his plane drifted into restricted airspace over the nation’s capital. Fighter jets were also launched in that case and stayed with the small aircraft until it ran out of fuel and crashed Saturday into the Atlantic.
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