WASHINGTON — Two F-15 fighter jets were following a private plane over the Atlantic Ocean Friday after its pilot failed to respond to repeated contact attempts by air traffic controllers, government officials said.

Air traffic controllers were last able to contact the pilot of the Socata TBM700, a high performance single-engine turboprop, at 10 a.m. EDT, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The plane took off at 8:45 a.m. EDT from the Greater Rochester International Airport. The pilot, who was not identified, had filed a flight plan with the FAA to fly from Rochester, New York, to Naples, Florida.

The fighter jets were launched at 11:30 a.m. EDT Friday, said Preston Schlachter, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command & U.S. Northern Command. Flightaware, an aviation tracking website, showed the plane over the Caribbean at about 2 p.m. EDT.

The incident marks the second time in less than a week that private pilot has become unresponsive during a flight. On Saturday, a pilot lost consciousness and his plane drifted into restricted airspace over the nation’s capital. Fighter jets were also launched in that case and stayed with the small aircraft until it ran out of fuel and crashed Saturday into the Atlantic.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.