6 Sep 2014

Unresponsive plane crashes into sea

8:23 am on 6 September 2014

An unresponsive private plane has crashed in the sea off Jamaica officials on the island said.

F-15 fighter jets

Two F-15 fighter jets, like this shown, were sent to investigate the unresponsive plane. Photo: AFP

Major Basil Jarrett of the Jamaican Defence Force said the plane went down about 22 kilometres north-east of Port Antonio, the BBC reported.

Jamaican and US Coast Guard planes and ships are on their way to the scene.

The two passengers on board have been named as Larry and Jane Glazer from Rochester, New York, officials said.

The plane, a Socata TBM-700, took off from Rochester at 12:26 GMT on route to Naples, Florida.

The US had scrambled two fighter jets to investigate why the plane failed to respond to air traffic control.

A North American air defence (Norad) spokesman said it was not possible for the jet fighter pilots to see inside the plane before it crashed as the windows were frosted or fogged over.

A tweet from Norad suggested the pilot or pilots could be unresponsive due to "possible hypoxia".

The plane was flying at an altitude of 7620 metres southbound over the Caribbean Sea, approaching the north east point of Jamaica, when it went off radar.

Earlier, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it has co-operated with Cuba air traffic control in monitoring the plane, despite the countries not having full diplomatic relations for more than half a century.