(CNN) — Personnel on Jamaican military aircraft have spotted debris that could be from a New York couple’s plane that crashed Friday off the island after hours of radio silence, the Jamaican government’s information service said Saturday on Twitter.
Rescuers were scouring Caribbean waters Saturday for signs of a prominent New York couple whose unresponsive plane crashed north of Jamaica.
The radio of the single-engine TBM-900 aircraft went silent Friday morning, prompting the United States and Cuba to trail it with fighter jets.
There were conflicting reports on how many people were in the private plane, with the U.S. Coast Guard indicating there were three.
Real estate developer Larry Glazer and his wife, Jane, were the only two people in it and were headed to their vacation home in Naples, Florida, relatives said.
Those aboard the small private plane were unresponsive for over four hours, drifting southward over the U.S. mainland, the Atlantic and eventually into the Caribbean.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command said they might have suffered from hypoxia, which sets in when oxygen is lacking.
Pilot seen slumped over
U.S. fighter jet pilots said when they looked into the aircraft, they saw the pilot slumped over and the windows frosted.
The plane's radio communication ended about 10 a.m. ET, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
At that time, it was above Statesville, North Carolina, about 600 miles south of the Rochester, New York, airport from which it set off around 8:45 a.m.
The pilot asked to descend to 18,000 feet because "we have an indication that is not correct in the plane," according to a stream of that transmission posted on LiveATC.net.
The air traffic controller told the pilot to "stand by," and proceed to 25,000 feet as he worked on clearing the plane to go lower. The conversation continued off-and-on for over four minutes, though it was largely one-sided: The pilot wasn't clear in his remarks and didn't declare any sort of emergency.
At one point, he simply repeated his call sign twice when the controller asked if he heard the request to drop down to 20,000 feet.
Data indicate the plane didn't descend. It cruised for hours about 25,000-feet above the ground.
The private plane dropped off radar at 2:11 p.m. , according to the flight tracking site, FlightAware.com.
Estimates suggested the fuel would have run out at 2:15 p.m.
By then, the aircraft had slowed considerably — down to 176 knots (200 mph), from a consistent 308 knots for most of its flight.
It crashed 14 miles off Jamaica's northeast coast.
Fate of couple unknown
Jamaica and the United States swiftly dispatched government aircraft to the scene. Jamaican authorities found an oil slick in the prime search area, according to Maj. Basil Jarrett of the nation's defense force.
As they searched, the Glazer family of Rochester, New York, mourned. The couple has three children.
While there was no official announcement on the fate of those on the plane, the couple's children said in a statement they were "devastated by the tragic and sudden loss of our parents." The said they are waiting for answers.
Larry Glazer co-founded Buckingham Properties in 1970, a year after graduating from Columbia University. According to his official bio, the company owns and manages more than 50 properties in the greater Rochester area.
The TBM-900 plane was owned by the company.
Jane Glazer founded QCI Direct, a 100-employee company that has an outlet store, according to its website.
A post on Women Entrepreneurs Blog, which is produced in conjunction with the University of Rochester's business school, notes that she ran the New York City Marathon and did whitewater rafting.
Both Glazers knew how to fly.
U.S., Cuban fighter jets trail aircraft
When the plane lost communications with air traffic control, the government stepped in.
NORAD dispatched two F-16 fighter jets from a base in Richland County, South Carolina. Another pair of fighter jets from Homestead, Florida, took over around 11:30 a.m. and escorted the plane past the U.S. mainland.
The American fighter jets broke off their pursuit 12 miles off Cuba, at which point a Cuban fighter jet took over.
Despite the longstanding tensions between the two countries, Cuba cooperated with the United States and did not consider the plane's movement a violation of its airspace.
Cuba let the U.S. Coast Guard aircraft go through its airspace and gave permission for American "military aircraft, if necessary," according to an official statement.AlertMe