Updated: Unresponsive U.S. plane crashes off Jamaican coast after being tracked by Air Force

Note: This blog post evolved with events.


An F-15 jet is shown here in flight over Missouri in 2013. The U.S. military scrambled two of them to escort an unresponsive aircraft Friday. (Boeing photo/Kevin Flynn)

The North American Aerospace Defense Command is tasked with scrambling U.S. and Canadian planes to control airspace over North America. And right now, it’s live-tweeting an emergency: A U.S. plane that left this morning from Rochester, N.Y., is flying far off course, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.

The first Twitter message was posted at 12:46 p.m., acknowledging that F-15 fighter jets had been sent to escort a small plane whose crew was dealing with “possible hypoxia,” a medical condition in which the body is deprived of oxygen.

In follow-up tweets, NORAD provided additional details:

The Socata TBM-700 is a single-engine turboprop plane frequently used for business. It has a wingspan of about 42 feet, and looks like this:

UPDATE, 1:46 p.m.: A search of the FlightAware online database shows one Socata TBM-700 that left Rochester this morning now off-course and nearing Cuba:


This map shows a plane that appears to have diverted from its course on Friday, Sept. 5, and nearing Cuban airspace. (FlightAware screen grab)

This map shows a plane that appears to have diverted from its course on Friday, Sept. 5, and nearing Cuban airspace. (FlightAware screen grab

UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.: Other flight trackers also are drawing attention to the plane, now believed to be near Jamaica:

UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.: Another update from NORAD:

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.: The plane is linked to a real estate company in New York state:

UPDATE: 2:28 p.m.: FlightAware’s tracker shows the plane may have changed course again:


This map shows a plane that appears to have diverted from its course on Friday, Sept. 5, and nearing Cuban airspace. (FlightAware screen grab)

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m.: The plane has crashed in Jamaica, the Associated Press is reporting:

UPDATE, 3 p.m.:

Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.
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Dan Lamothe · September 5