The pilot of a small plane that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico earlier today remains missing and is feared dead, authorities say. Dr. Peter Hertzak was flying the twin-engine Cessna 421 from Slidell, Louisiana to Sarasota, Florida when he apparently fell unconscious. The plane flew in circles for almost three hours before going down about 120 miles west of Tampa.
After it became clear there was a problem, the Coast Guard deployed two aircrafts and a boat to the area. Two F-15 jets from the New Orleans National Guard also monitored the situation. Coast Guard officials say the plane did not break apart upon impact. It floated for a while and then sank. The cause of the crash remains unknown, but authorities say the cabin likely lost pressure, causing the pilot to fall unconscious.
Hertzak is thought to be the only person on board the Cessna 421.
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