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Small plane, headed for Manassas, crashes into Atlantic Ocean off Virginia coast

A single-engine airplane that was scheduled to land in Manassas crashed Saturday into the Atlantic Ocean off the Virginia coast, authorities said.

The Coast Guard said the pilot, the only person on board, appeared unconscious as the plane flew southeast, at about 13,000 feet, through Washington’s restricted airspace and eventually across Virginia’s eastern shore.

The plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed about 50 miles southeast of Chincoteague, the Coast Guard said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane, a Cirrus SR22, had departed from Waukesha County Airport in Wisconsin and was headed to Manassas Regional Airport. The straight line distance is about 630 miles.

According to the FAA, the pilot had not been responding to radio calls since 1 p.m. The plane crashed into the ocean about 3:17 p.m., the FAA said.

The Coast Guard said two F-16 fighter jets moved alongside the plane to investigate after it was reported in the restricted airspace around Washington.

The F-16s escorted the plane until it the ran out of fuel and plunged into the water, the Coast Guard said.

The airmen came close enough to the plane to see that the pilot was not conscious, the Coast Guard said.

A spokeswoman for NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the F-16 pilots saw the Cirrus pilot slumped over but could not rouse him.

The pilot was not identified. It was not known what caused the pilot to lose consciousness.

A search for the pilot was under way. The crash is under investigation.


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