Coast Guard searching for two in Gulf plane crash

Published: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 7:51 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 7:51 a.m.

Rescuers were searching Monday morning for a private plane carrying two people that may have crashed into the Gulf of Mexico about 20 miles southwest of Yankeetown in Levy County Sunday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

The single-engine, fixed-wing Beechcraft aircraft reportedly was traveling from Tallahassee to Vandenberg Airport in Tampa. The people on the plane were identified by the Coast Guard as Darien Peckham, 35, and Zachary Schlitt, 28. Information about where the two were from was not immediately available.

The plane dropped off radar at about 6:45 p.m. and may have crashed into the Gulf where seas were 10 to 12 feet with winds about 23 to 29 mph at the time.

Crews from Coast Guard Station Yankeetown and Coast Guard Station Sand Key in Clearwater as well as a HH-60 Jayhawk rescue-helicopter crew and HC-130 Hercules search-plane crew, both from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, were searching the water for the plane’s occupants, the Coast Guard reported.

Initial reports from Coast Guard had listed the plane as a twin-engine plane and said an air-traffic controller in Jacksonville had contacted the Coast Guard at 7:45 p.m. Sunday to report the crash.

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