A private airplane with an "incapacitated" pilot crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, according to officials.
The private aircraft was flying en route from Louisiana to Florida when the pilot, who has been identified as Dr. Peter Hertzak of Slidell, La., is believed to have lost consciousness.
Air traffic controllers lost radio contact with Hertzak at around 9 a.m. Thursday and three hours later the twin-engine propeller Cessna 421 crashed, landing right-side in the Gulf.
Air traffic controllers were never able to get a hold of Hertzak, despite dispatching two Air Force F-15 fighter jets to try to make contact with the Hertzak..
The fighter jets were unable to establish contact with the pilot of the twin-engine propeller Cessna 421 due to fog and ice that obscured the windows of the aircraft.
Experts believe the aircraft may have lost cabin pressure causing Hertzak to lose consciousness.
The plane was flying erratically in a corkscrew path in the sky before it crashed into the Gulf, authorities told The Associated Press.
After the crash, the plane was seen floating on the ocean surface but a life raft was not seen deployed from the aircraft. The Coast Guard saw no signs on Thursday that Hertzak survived the crash.
Bill Huete, a mechanic at the Slidell Airport also spoke to the AP about Hertzak, an OB-GYN and excellent pilot, according to Huete.
"I met him years ago when he was looking to start flying again and bought this plane," Huete told AP. "He flew by the book and he didn't scrimp on maintenance."