Coast Guard finds debris field while searching for 5 people in downed aircraft

PORT RICHEY, Fla. – The Coast Guard is continuing its search for five people aboard an aircraft that reportedly crashed in the Gulf of Mexico around 3 p.m., Wednesday, 20-miles west of Port Richey.

The Coast Guard has discovered a two-mile debris field within the search area.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call at 3 p.m. from an air-traffic control center in Jacksonville, Fla., reporting that a twin-engine Cessna aircraft that had departed Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas, for Tampa International Airport had crashed approximately 20-miles west of Port Richey with five people onboard.

The identity of the missing people are unknown.

Coast Guard crews searching are:

  • Two HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • A 47-foot motor life boat crew from Coast Guard Station Sand Key, in Clearwater.
  • The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Alligator, homeported in St. Petersburg.

Weather conditions onscene are 23-knot winds, five-foot seas with a water temperature of 84 degrees.

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