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Coast Guard suspends search for downed plane

Published On: Aug 30 2014 06:03:16 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 31 2014 02:22:39 PM CDT
CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. -

The Coast Guard said the pilot of a small airplane lost consciousness while flying and the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the Virginia coast.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Nate Littlejohn said crews were searching for the plane. It crashed Saturday about 50 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island.

The Coast Guard issued a statement Sunday saying it suspended its search Sunday morning.

A fishermen in the area of the crash recovered a wheel and an engine cowling, which officials believe belong to the crashed plane.

Littlejohn said the Coast Guard in Portsmouth was notified about 2:40 p.m. on Saturday that the plane failed to land in Manassas, Virginia, and continued into restricted air space in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the pilot had not been responding to radio calls since 1 p.m. Eastern.

Two Air Force jets confirmed the pilot was unconscious and stayed with the plane until it eventually ran out of fuel and crashed. Bergen said the aircraft descended into the ocean at about 3:17 p.m. Eastern.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson said the plane was heading from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Manassas.

Littlejohn said no one else was aboard the plane.

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  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

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