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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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