Coast Guard searching for overdue aircraft

Coast Guard 8th District NewsNEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard is searching for an aircraft reported overdue, Monday, 40 miles southeast of Venice in the Gulf of Mexico.

Search and rescue assets are:

An HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft and crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala.;

An MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans;

The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Cobia and crew.

Watchstanders at the Eighth Coast Guard District command center received a call from the Federal Aviation Administration in Houston that a single-engine Piper PA28 departed from Jack Edwards Airport in Gulf Shores, Ala., shortly after 7 a.m. At approximately 11 a.m., FAA Houston reported that the aircraft descended 600 feet in three minutes and then lost radar contact.

There are currently no signs of a downed aircraft or a debris field in the vicinity of the aircraft’s last known position.

The Coast Guard is searching a 2,500 square-mile area 40 miles east-southeast of Venice.

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