UPDATE: The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a pilot of a plane that crashed Saturday afternoon off he coast of Chincoteague Island.

A HC-130 Hercules plane and Cutter Beluga took part in the search until sunset on Saturday.

A good Samaritan on a fishing vessel found a wheel and engine cowling that may have come from the plane. The fisherman gave the potential evidence to the crew of Cutter Beluga. The items will be given to the National Transportation Safety Board.


PORTSMOUTH -- The Coast Guard responded to a plane crash Saturday after a single-engine Cirrus SR20 aircraft went down about 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island.

The plane, which had only a pilot on board, did not land at Manassas Regional Airport as as scheduled. Instead, it stayed at an altitude of 13,000 feet and continued into restricted airspace near Washington, D.C.

Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controllers tracked the plane through the restricted airspace early this afternoon. The pilot had not been responding to radio calls since 1:00 p.m.

Two F-16 fighter jets under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) came alongside the Cirrus SR20 to investigate and found the pilot 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 FAA said the plane went down about 50 miles southeast of Wallops Island at about 3:17 p.m.

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, home ported in Virginia Beach, to respond.

The plane took off fromWaukesha County Airport in Wisconsin.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
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