The search for the pilot of an unresponsive twin-engine plane that drew the attention of the U.S. government and crashed in the Gulf of Mexico has been called off.
Authorities identified the sole occupant of the Cessna 421 as Dr. Peter Hertzak from New Orleans.
The plane began flying in circles for hours over the Gulf not long after takeoff April 19 from Slidell, La., en route to Sarasota, Fla. Two F-15 fighters were dispatched to monitor the aircraft.
Bill Huete, an airport mechanic told the Associated Press that Hertzak was a top-notch pilot. "He flew by the book and he didn't scrimp on maintenance," Huete said.
Below is a timeline of the events as they happened.
4 p.m. ET Approximate arrival of Coast Guard Coho Cutter water-rescue team. By then, the aircraft was completely submerged and vessels searched for debris in water about 1,500 feet deep, according to the Coast Guard.
2 p.m. ET Coast Guard helicopter crew arrives on scene. The plane is mostly intact and the nose isRead More »from Erratic plane over Gulf of Mexico tracked by U.S. government crashes