Unresponsive plane crashes near Jamaica after US and Cuban fighter jets scrambled for escort
By RYAN GORMAN
An Upstate New York real estate tycoon and his wife were among the dead when an unresponsive plane crashed after being escorted by both the U.S. and Cuban Air Forces, authorities said.
Jamaican officials announced the Socata TBM 900 crashed 14 miles off the coast of Jamaica after missing it's scheduled landing at Naples (FL) Airport. The plane's 1,700 mile journey ended in tragedy at 2:15 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Authority.
Reports claim the plane had three passengers, but the FAA declined to confirm how many people were onboard. Local news station WHAM, in Rochester, reported that real estate tycoon Larry Glazer and wife Jane Glazer died in the wreck.
Jamaican officials organizing a search effort had yet to find any wreckage as late Friday afternoon.
Local politicians have already weighed in on the tragic loss.
"The Glazers were innovative and generous people who were committed to revitalizing downtown Rochester and making the city they loved a better place for all," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "I offer my deepest condolences to the Glazers' family and friends during this difficult and trying time."
A New York State Assemblyman also spoke of the loss, calling the Glazers friends of his.
"I'm deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of a longtime personal friends, Larry & Jane Glazer," New York State Assemblyman Joe Morelle said in a statement.
Rochester's mayor released a statement.
"It is difficult to put into words how much Larry Glazer has meant to our community," said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. "Larry worked hard to return a sense of vitality and excitement to our Center City. His efforts helped to lift our spirits and restore our sense of optimism. He has been a treasured friend and partner."
The single-engine Socata TBM-900 was flying from Rochester, New York, to the Sunshine State, according to NORAD. It was registered to New 51LG, LLC, a Rochester-based company, FAA records showed.
The company listed as the owner of the crashed aircraft is at the same address as Buckingham Properties, Business Insider first reported. Larry Glazer is listed on the company's website as co-founder, CEO and managing partner. Jane Glazer is his wife.
Records show the plane was purchased by Glazer earlier this year. The aircraft last received a safety inspection in March. It is advertised by its manufacturer as a long-range, high-speed single engine aircraft.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot when he stopped responding to radio signals just after 10:00 a.m., according to the FAA.
The pilots of the military aircraft told air traffic controllers they saw the pilot "unconscious and slumped over," according to multiple reports. They soon relayed that the windows were frosting over.
Authorities fear the cabin occupants fell victim to hypoxia, a deprivation of oxygen. Frost-covered windows are usually a tell-tale sign of oxygen deprivation.
The F-15s halted their pursuit of the plane when it flew over Cuba and planned to rejoin after it left the island nation's air space but were refueling as it went down, according to NORAD.
The Cuban Air Force pursued the aircraft while it was over the country, according to CNN.
Multiple attempts to establish contact with the plane as it approached Naples Airport and then flew off its designated flight plan were unsuccessful.
An AOL News attempt to reach Buckingham Properties was unsuccessful. There was no answer at any phone number listed for the company.
A similar incident occurred August 30 when a single-engine plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed into the ocean just off the Virginia coastline. It was headed from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Manassas, Virginia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.