The Coast Guard is reporting that a pilot of a small single engine airplane fell unconsciousness while in flight and he and his plane ended up crashing into Atlantic Ocean after drifting over restricted airspace above Washington, D.C. This prompted fighter jets to stay with the tiny aircraft until it ran out of fuel and ended up going down into the water on Saturday.
Crews combed through the ocean waters for the small Cessna plane, which went down around 50 miles to the southeast of the coast of Virginia, explained Nate Littlejohn, who is a Coast Guard Petty Officer. The small plane had taken off from Waukesha, Wisconsin and was going to Manassas, Virginia, which is approximately 30 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, explained Peter Knudson, who is a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board.
However the plane, which only had the pilot on board, failed to land at the Manassas Regional Airport as was planned. Instead, it continued to stay at an altitude of about 13,000 feet and continued onward into restricted airspace near the nation’s capital.
Federal Aviation Air Traffic Controllers began tracking the small plane as it flew through the banned airspace early Saturday afternoon. The pilot had not responded to any radio calls sent to him since around 1:00 p.m. The Coast Guard was alerted around 2:40 p.m.
That was when two F-16 fighter jets which were under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD both flew up along the plane in order to investigate and discovered that the pilot was unconscious inside the cockpit. The two F-16 pilots accompanied the plane on a course over the Virginia shore until it finally ran out of fuel and ended up crashing into the Atlantic Ocean.
The FAA stated the plane went down around 3:17 p.m. At that time the Coast Guard sent up a Jayhawk helicopter and a Hercules airplane both out of Elizabeth City in North Carolina and a plane from Virginia Beach to help respond in a rescue effort.
The plane was registered to a Ronald Hutchinson of Brookfield, Wisconsin and a Flight Aware activity log stated that the small plane was also registered in Brookfield. It took off from the Waukesha, Wisconsin Airport.
The plane’s location was not tracked any longer after it flew out about 50 miles from the shore of Wallops Island. That was where it was then reported to have went down
The U.S. Coast Guard stated that they did not see the plane when they searched on Saturday afternoon and that was when they reported it had apparently crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and had disappeared.
It was reported by the media that relatives of Hutchinson had been reached at a phone listing for him but they did not want to give any public comments on what had happened, on Saturday night.
The NTSB was also said to be investigating the accident. The Coast Guard reported the pilot fell unconsciousness while in flight and he and his airplane ended up crashing into the Atlantic Ocean after drifting over restricted airspace above Washington, D.C.
By Kimberly Ruble