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By Ray Sanchez, CNN

(CNN) — A small plane flew for hours unresponsive from Rochester, New York, southward before crashing Friday off the coast of Jamaica, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The pilot of the single-engine Daher-Socata aircraft — which had taken off from Rochester destined for Naples, Florida — stopped responding to radio calls at about 10 a.m. ET, according to the FAA.

By 11:30 a.m., two U.S. fighter jets had been dispatched under the direction of NORAD to go after the aircraft, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

The F-15 pilots could see, before the small plane’s windows frosted, and a pilot slumped over, according to a NORAD official. The official said one or two other people were believed to be on board, though the number was not confirmed.

Most recent flight path
Most recent flight path

The U.S. planes broke off before reaching Cuban airspace 12 miles off the island’s coast, NORAD said. The plane was then cruising at about 25,000 feet.

A Cuban fighter jet was later sent to trail the aircraft as it flew near that Caribbean island, according to NORAD. Cuba was cooperating with the United States on the matter and did not consider the plane’s movement a violation of its airspace, according to a Cuban source involved in conversations between the two nations.

Ted Soliday, executive director of the Naples, Florida, airport where the plane was headed, told CNN that he did not know how many people were on board the six-seat aircraft.

“Once it gets up that high, it can cruise at good speed with low fuel use,” he said. “We do not know the people or what their condition is,” Soliday said as the flight continued south. “They been flying for almost five hours. That’s a long time for that aircraft.”

The plane is a Daher-Socata TBM-700 light business and utility aircraft.

Original, full story, here.

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