KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- KINGSTON, Jamaica - Trailed much of the way by two U.S. fighter jets, a small plane with an unresponsive pilot flew a ghostly 1,700-mile journey down the East Coast on Friday before finally crashing off the coast of Jamaica. The fate of the pilot and anyone else aboard was not immediately known.
Maj. Basil Jarrett of the Jamaican Defense Force said the plane went down about 14 miles (22 kilometers) northeast of the northern coastal town of Port Antonio and the military sent two aircraft and a dive team to investigate.
The plane took off at 8:45 a.m. EDT from the Greater Rochester International Airport in New York, according to local officials. 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 U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
The agency said it had not confirmed the number of people aboard and Jarrett said he had no information on passengers. However, ABC News reports three people may have been aboard:
Two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled earlier Friday to follow the plane over the Atlantic Ocean after its pilot failed to respond to repeated contact attempts by air traffic controllers, government officials said.
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 flight-tracking website Flightradar.com was tracking the plane live and put it past Cuba and on a course toward the east side of Jamaica at an altitude of 25,000 feet:
However, around 2:35pm ET the flight-tracking website lost the icon and radar contact was lost. A graph of the plane's flight from FlightAware.com seem to support that timeline:
You can watch a replay of the plane's flight via FlightRadar.com.
The plane is a Socata TBM700, a high performance single-engine turboprop.
It finally came down after flying more than 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers).
FlightAware identified the plane's tail number as N900KN. FAA records show the plane, a model that sells new for $3.5 million in its standard version, is owned by a company based at the same address as a real estate firm in Rochester. The firm, Buckingham Properties, is owned by developer Larry Glazer, who also is president of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association.
A person who answered the phone at Buckingham Properties declined to comment. Glazer's son Rick Glazer told The Associated Press: "I don't have any comment about what's going on at this time."
According to Buckingham's website, "Larry spends some of his spare time on the ground - gardening around his house with his wife, Jane; and some in the sky - flying his plane."
The Air Force and Transportation Security Administration contacted Rochester airport officials about the plane at about 10:45 a.m., according to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. The airport referred all inquiries to the FAA.
Fox News reported on-air that the scrambled fighter jets reported seeing frosted windows, an indication that the cabin had lost pressurization. The outlet also said the fighter pilots had to pull away once the small plane neared Cuban air space.
According to ABC, the F-15s that broke off were circling around Cuba and planned on intercepting the small aircraft again if it stayed in the air:
US, Cuba authorities communicating about small plane; fighter jets flying around Cuba to intercept plane if it stays in air - @LMartinezABC— ABC News (@ABC) September 5, 2014
However, NORAD wrote on its Facebook page that the jets had returned to the U.S. to refuel and they were continuing to monitor the situation.
CBS reporter Charles Kaye reports that the F-15 pilots witnessed the smaller plane's pilot slumped over:
More NORAD: fighters initially saw pilot slumped over, but then cockpit windows frosted over--sign of cabin decompression and hypoxia.— Charlie Kaye (@CharlieKayeCBS) September 5, 2014
CNN confirmed that detail citing a NORAD official.
The incident is 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.