Unresponsive US jet crashes off north coast of Jamaica
The Associated Press reported at around 2:30 pm EDT on Friday that the plane had crashed near the island with three on board, according to local officials. NBC News said the jet went down 14 miles north of Jamaica.
Two American fighter jets and a Cuban military aircraft were sent to intercept the small aircraft late Friday morning, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, acknowledged earlier in the day.
According to a statement published by NORAD, the bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning, jets were deployed to investigate the aircraft after the plane failed to respond to communications. CNN reported that three people, including the pilot, were on the plane, according to the Pentagon.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 5, 2014
The aircraft in question is a seven-seat Socata TBM-700 jet, flight number N900KN, and NORAD described the aircraft as a light utility or business jet. A spokesperson for the US Federal Aviation Administration told the Washington Post that the jet's pilot had failed to respond to calls placed with the aircraft at around 10:00 a.m.
By 1:30 pm, CNN reported, at least one Cuban military jet had been scrambled to trail the plane as well. The US Coast Guard had been communicating with authorities in Cuba as the plane prepared to enter that nation’s airspace, and the jet finally did so around five hours into the flight.
According to live tracking provided by FlightAware.com, the jet was just south of Cuba heading towards Jamaica at 2:00 pm, but was expected to run out of fuel at any moment over the Caribbean.
— AirLiveNet (@airlivenet) September 5, 2014
Just after 2 pm, the Guardian reported that a NORAD spokesperson said they believed the pilot was unconscious due to hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, and a person on board a fighter jet trailing the plane reported that the pilot may have been slumped over.
According to FlightAware's statistics, the speed of the plane decelerated from 311 miles-per-hour to 176 mph between 1:53 pm and 2:11 pm. Moments later, the AP reported that it had crashed, citing confirming from Jamaican officials.
— Dave Thorpe (@ThorpeDave) September 5, 2014
Larry Glazer, a Rochester-based developer, is the owner of the plane, according to the city's Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. Sources told the outlet that Glazer and his wife were planning a trip to Naples, FL this weekend.