WATCH: A small plane that took off from Rochester, N.Y. bound for Florida crashed off Jamaica, after the pilot didn’t respond to contact. Mike Armstrong has the details.
TORONTO – An unresponsive U.S. plane from Rochester, N.Y. with tail number N900KN crashed into the ocean north of Jamaica Friday afternoon, killing local businessman Larry Glazer and his wife.
Monroe County executive Maggie Brooks said the community was shaken to its very core, and that the Glazer family would be in their thoughts.
“[We should] say a silent thank you to a man and a woman who clearly used their success and turned that success into a gift for our community, and gave back to charities, to organizations, to the community,” said Brooks Friday afternoon.
“We were very blessed that they were part of Rochester and Monroe County.”
“We just know that in Rochester it took off this morning and it was fine, and now it’s very much a national event,” said Brooks.
Rick Glazer said that his parents, Larry and Jane Glazer, were both licensed pilots. He said he can’t confirm they were killed, adding that “we know so little.”
LISTEN: Fighter jet pilot tells NORAD he can see pilot’s chest moving, hopes he regains consciousness as unresponsive plane descends
The aircraft took off from New York’s Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) at 8:45 a.m. ET Friday morning with a flight plan to Naples, Florida.
“Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Controllers tracked a Socata TBM700 aircraft through U.S. airspace as the pilot stopped responding to radio calls at about 10 am EDT,” according to a statement from the FAA.
The FAA later added Jamaican and U.S. Coast Guard ships were en route to the scene; NORAD said the U.S. Coast Guard has initiated a search and rescue mission.
North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) fighter jets scrambled to escort the unresponsive aircraft, but had to return to base for refueling around 1:30 p.m. ET.
At approximately 10:40 a.m. ET, two F-16 fighter jets launched from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Richland County, S.C. to investigate, said a statement from NORAD.
“They handed off monitoring duties at around 11:30 a.m. EDT to two F-15 fighters from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Homestead, FL which escorted the aircraft until it entered Cuban airspace,” said the statement.
The NORAD jets had to return to base for refueling around 1:30 p.m. ET, which is when the crash happened.
LISTEN: Audio from the last radio transmission with the U.S. aircraft
NORAD said the occupants of the aircraft had been unresponsive to attempts to communicate; the FAA had not confirmed the number of people on board.
The plane is registered to a limited liability corporation located at the address of Buckingham Properties, a real estate and property management company, according to Business Insider. The company is owned by CEO Larry Glazer, who AIN News reported purchased the plane earlier this year.
The plane is registered to a company called NEW 51LG LLC, which is reportedly housed at the Buckingham Properties’ headquarters in Rochester.
A local publication said the tail number N900KN is the same as the one on the plane registered to Glazer.
ABC affiliate 13WHAM said an attorney spoke on the family’s behalf.
The Democrat & Chronicle said Glazer had development projects in Naples, and cited sources close to the Glazers as saying the couple had planned a weekend trip to Naples.
New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle tweeted the Glazers were passionate about the Rochester community.
The Buckingham’s website includes this description of Glazer:
“Larry spends some of his spare time on the ground – gardening around his house with his wife, Jane; and some in the sky – flying his plane.”
The FAA said the small aircraft flew along the east coast of Florida and through Cuban airspace before descending into the ocean about 14 miles off the coast of Port Antonio, Jamaica at about 2:15 p.m. ET.
Maj. Basil Jarrett of the Jamaican Defence Force said the plane went down about 22 kilometres northeast of Port Antonio and the military sent two aircraft and a dive team to investigate the area where the plane went down.
The incident is the second time in less than a week that a private pilot has become unresponsive during a flight. On Saturday, a pilot lost consciousness and his plane drifted into restricted airspace over the nation’s capital. Fighter jets were also launched in that case and stayed with the small aircraft until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic.
WATCH: Aviation analyst answers questions about the possible cause of the small plane crash off the coast of Jamaica
With files from Global News reporter Adam Frisk and The Associated Press
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