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Coast Guard Continues Search for Missing Aircraft

May 11, 2006 – The U.S. Coast Guard continued searching Thursday for an aircraft that disappeared from Federal Aviation Administration radar Wednesday night while en route from St. Thomas to St. Croix, Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said Thursday morning.
Castrodad said details were still sketchy more than 18 hours after the plane lost contact with the San Juan, Puerto Rico-based radar facility after radioing for assistance.
Castrodad said Coast Guard officials were verifying the make of the aircraft and trying to ascertain whether there were other passengers on board the plane.
"At this moment we're still conducting search efforts and trying to establish a search area to look for this aircraft," Castrodad said. "We haven't gotten any hard indication that the aircraft has gone down or made it elsewhere. As we continue with the investigation, we can answer those questions."
Castrodad said that the Coast Guard has classified the incident as a missing aircraft and will release details as soon as they become available. The pilot was identified as a male but no further information is being released at this time, he said.
According to Castrodad the aircraft left St. Thomas Wednesday evening, contacting the FAA station in San Juan for assistance at 7:45 p.m.
"It was taking off from St. Thomas to St. Croix and in the process the aircraft got disoriented and asked for assistance," he said. "During that time, when he was seeking assistance, they lost contact with the aircraft and since then the U.S. Coast Guard has been searching the areas between St. Thomas, St. Croix, Culebra and Vieques."
Castrodad said that the U.S. Coast Guard has sent out two planes – a C-26 Aircraft and a HU-25 Falcon Jet – to search for the missing plane.

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