Coast Guard suspends search for plane that crashed off Chincoteague Island

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (WAVY) – The Coast Guard suspended its search for a Cirrus SR22 airplane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island Saturday.

According to a press release from the Coast Guard, a HC-130 Hercules Plane searched until sunset Saturday while the crew of the Cutter Beluga searched through the night.

A fisherman in the vicinity of the crash recovered a wheel and an engine cowling that is believed to belong to the crashed Cirrus SR22 aircraft. They were turned over to the crew of the Cutter Beluga.

The COast Guard search did not turn up any sign of the pilot or the plane’s wreckage.

Peter Knudson with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Saturday that the single-engine plane was on a flight path from Waukesha, Wisconsin to Manassas, Virginia.

Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed that only one person was on board the plane and that the plane traveled through the restricted airspace around Washington D.C..

The plane had not been responding to radio calls since 1:00 p.m. and went without contact with air traffic control for over 90 minutes.

Two U.S. F-16 aircraft came alongside the plane to investigate and observed the pilot unconscious in the cockpit.

The F-16 airmen escorted the plane on its course over the Eastern Shore of Virginia until it eventually ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Coast Guard responded with Coast Guard Cutter Beluga, which is home-ported in Virginia Beach, as well as with aircraft from Elizabeth City along with other units.

WAVY.com will continue to post the latest details as they become available.

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