Skip to comments.Unresponsive Plane Crashes in Gulf of Mexico
Posted on 04/19/2012 2:30:50 PM PDT by rawhide
A twin-engine aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Mexico after the pilot was unresponsive for nearly three hours as radar tracked the plane flying aimlessly in loops.
The FAA lost radio contact with the Cessna 421 before 9 a.m. ET. It was circling at approximately 28,000 feet. Fully loaded, the plane was carrying about 3.5 hours worth of fuel. Only the pilot was thought to be on board.
The plane took off from Slidell, La., and was en route to Sarasota, Fla., according to a flight plan. Somewhere between the two points, it began flying in circles.
Officials at NORAD confirmed that the air defense agency has launched two F-15 fighter aircraft to intercept the general aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico.
NORAD spokesman John Cornelio said the fighter jets made contact visual with the aircraft over the Gulf around 8:45 a.m. They monitored the situation providing overhead cover.
"We are monitoring the flight pattern and the aircraft remains unresponsive," said Cornelio before the crash.
Spotter aircraft confirm the plane landed right side up and did not break apart, but later began to sink, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard has asked mariners in the area to offer assistance.
The pilot may have suffered hypoxia,or a lack of oxygen, said ABC News aviation consultant Stephen Gaynaard.
"As the pilot was in the climb, the cabin was not pressurizing," he speculated, "so there was not sufficient oxygen to keep him conscious."
The plane appears to have been flying between 10,000 and 30,000 feet after the pilot became unresponsive
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
God rest his soul.
This is so spooky. Earlier today, the memory of Stuart Payne and his death-by-depressurized-Lear-Jet came into my mind for no reason at all. Maybe about 10:30 or 11:00 Eastern time.
It does sound similar.
According to the Panama city news, the plane flew into the Eglin AFB exclusion zone and two F-15s from the Louisiana National Guard were already there training. They were asked to investigate.
They watched until it had a soft landing but no indication that anyone got out.
Payne Stewart, you mean.
The F-15 pilots said the plane’s windshield was iced over.
I think that is exactly the same as Payne Stewart’s jet.
Slidell doctor missing after plane crash in Gulf of Mexico
WGNO News 3:46 p.m. CDT , April 19, 2012
The U.S. Coast Guardin New Orleans is investigating a plane crash off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. The only passenger on board is believed to be Dr. Peter Hertzak of Slidell.
Rescue crews flying near the site say the Cessna 421 plane landed upright in the water, but the nose of the plane then submerged and the plane sank. There was no sign of Dr. Hertzak or the plane’s life raft.
Officials say the pilot had been flying in circles unresponsive for hours (see the a map of the flight in the “Dr. Peter Hertak [Photos]” link to the left), and just before 11:30 Thursday morning, the plane ran out of fuel and crashed about 133 miles south of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Dr. Hertzak was a Gynecologist with an office in Slidell, and was featured in a WGNO Beauty Breakthrough report for the G-Shot (see the link to the left).
Plane Crashes In Gulf Of Mexico: Dr. Peter Hertzak, The Lone Pilot, Missing In Gulf Waters
The pilot was identified by Slidell Airport as Dr. Peter Hertzak of Slidell, La., reported NBC. The plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed into the water, reported Reuters. It slowly began to sink to the ocean floor. Authorities believe that Hertzak was unconscious and was the only person on board the plane.
Hertzak took off from Slidell Airport en route to Sarasota, Florida when air traffic controllers lost contact with him, reported Reuters. He was approximately 28,000 feet over the Gulf waters and began flying around in circles for several hours on Thursday at approximately 9:30 a.m.
Bill Huete was a mechanic who worked on the downed aircraft in the past and met Hertzak,who was worked as an OB-GYN.
“I met him years ago when he was looking to start flying again and bought this plane,” said Huete, reported the Associated Press. “He flew by the book and he didn’t scrimp on maintenance.”
While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, it is possible he suffered from hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen.
“As the pilot was in the climb, the cabin was not pressurizing,” speculated Stephen Aynaard, ABC News aviation consultant, “so there was not sufficient oxygen to keep him conscious.”
Yes. Thanks for the correction.
Dr. Peter Hertzak
CORAL GABLES (LALATE) Dr. Peter Hertzak has died in a plane crash into the Gulf of Mexico today, Coast Guard officials claim. Dr. Peter Hertzak was flying a Cessna 421 plane before he crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. FAA officials tell news that they lost contact with Hertzak after he took off this morning. Hertzak had left Slidell en route to Sarasota, Florida.
After contact was lost, two NORAD jets were dispatched promptly. They were able to locate and fly alongside the jet thereafter. But Hertzak allegedly became incapacitated. Two F-15 fighters confirmed that the pilot simply became unconscious during flight. They assert the plane lost fuel, headed off its path, and crashed into the Gulf.
Coast Guard Chief John Edwards tells news that Hertzaks plane crashed into the water, and remained floating. But thereafter, the plane sunk into the gulf. Officials confirm that no life raft was spotted at the point of impact, roughly 120 miles from Tampa.
No one else was on board. Edwards in a news statement says The plane did what we would refer to as a soft landing, meaning it wasnt a violent impact in the water; it was floating it was intact and right side up. Edwards said the fighter jets were unable to make visual observation of Hertzak because his windows were fogged up.
One wonders if the good doctor is on a boat somewhere headed in search an anonymous life somewhere in some sleepy little Latin American village.
Not if one knows anything about aviation and doesn't thing everything is a conspiracy.
Thank you for that update.
I noticed the reporter classed the Cessna 421 as a jet:
“They were able to locate and fly alongside the jet...”
Given this I’m surprised the reporter didn’t call it a Glock.
Interesting that the Air Force requires pilots to wear blood oxygen sensors with REALLY LOUD ALARMS now days.
I found it amusing that the FIRST line of the story had an obvious error in it, stating that the plane was repeatedly flying in “loops.”
Aerobatics: loops are vertical ‘circles’, not horizontal circles.
The plane was trimmed up and pretty much balanced, and just flew in a natural p-factor circle. Maybe unequal fuel weight contributed to the turns too. Dunno.
The 421 is a pressurized piston twin with a service ceiling of around 30,000 feet and a regulatory ceiling of 28,000 feet. They are typically flown in the low flight levels.
According to the AP, the airplane went down around noon approximately 120 miles West of Tampa, landed softly and remained upright and intact. A Coast Guard rescue helicopter was deployed to the crash site, but was not expected to arrive while the airplane was still afloat. There were reportedly no signs from the site that the pilot was still alive.
The airplane had flight planned for 27,000 feet and 215 knots along a Gulf of Mexico high-altitude route. The flight from Slidell, LA, to Bradenton, Florida, was expected to last around three and a half hours.
While the exact cause of the incident is still unknown, references to the 1999 crash that killed golfer Payne Stewart and five other occupants aboard a Learjet after the aircraft lost cabin pressure over the Gulf of Mexico have already begun."
I would think the pilot had the auto pilot engaged for this flight. Whay would cause it to start circling?
Why did you put a picture of a Conquest turboprop in a story about a 421?
Hey, it beats posting a photo of a corporate jet as some media have done.... or a C172R.. or C172