Rescue crews search for missing men in plane

Published: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 3:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 3:45 p.m.

YANKEETOWN, Fla. -- The Coast Guard is searching for two men whose plane lost radar contact with officials and may have crashed in the Gulf of Mexico near Yankeetown.

Authorities say 35-year-old Darien Peckham and 28-year-old Zachary Schlitt are missing. Their hometowns were not immediately known. The pair were headed from Tallahassee to Vandenberg Airport in Tampa when their single-engine, fixed-wing plane lost radar contact Sunday evening.

Along with boat crews from Coast Guard stations in Yankeetown and Sand Key, search crews aboard a Jayhawk helicopter and a HC-130 Hercules were flying over the water Monday in search of the men.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Katheleen Bergen says the last known position of the aircraft was over the water approximately 40 miles from Tampa.

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