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Plane crashes in Gulf of Mexico, pilot ‘unresponsive’

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WASHINGTON — A small private plane with only an “unresponsive” pilot on board crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after circling for more than two hours, US officials said.

The US Air Force had scrambled two F-15 fighter jets to intercept and monitor the Cessna 421 aircraft, which was headed from the southern state of Louisiana to Florida.

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North American Aerospace Defense Command said the jets “intercepted and monitored an unresponsive general aviation aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico at approximately 9:30 am” (1330 GMT).

“The NORAD fighters remained on station and monitored the aircraft until it crashed in the Gulf of Mexico at approximately 12:15 pm (1615 GMT). The fighters stayed on station to assist partner agencies in further efforts before returning to base,” it added in a statement.

The light, twin-engine aircraft’s “windows were iced over… They were unable to see the pilot,” US Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Bill Colclough told AFP.

Its nose appeared to be submerged after the crash, according to the Coast Guard.

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The plane departed from Slidell, Louisiana, and was headed to Sarasota, Florida. But it began flying in circles at about 28,000 feet (8,500 meters) about midway through the trip, according to flight tracker FlightAware.

Colclough said the plane had been flying “erratically” about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of Panama city, Florida.

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“The pilot was the only person on board the plane,” Coast Guard Captain Steve Lehman said.

The Coast Guard, which has requested assistance, has deployed an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, along with the US Coast Guard Cutter Coho patrol boat and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol airplane.

“This is a joint response with the Coast Guard and Air Force,” said Kevin Robb, the command duty officer for the Eighth District command center. “We’re saturating the scene, responding with multiple air and surface assets.”

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The plane is registered to Lee H Aviation Inc in Wilmington, Delaware.

One aviation expert told CNN a loss of cabin pressure could have caused the pilot to lose consciousness.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump Twitter-rages at ‘evil propaganda machine’ New York Times

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President Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning by going on a multi-tweet rant about the New York Times where he blamed them for his poor poll numbers and called them "an evil propaganda machine.'

Trump began with, "The Failing New York Times, in one of the most devastating portrayals of bad journalism in history, got caught by a leaker that they are shifting from their Phony Russian Collusion Narrative (the Mueller Report & his testimony were a total disaster), to a Racism Witch Hunt....., " before adding, "'Journalism' has reached a new low in the history of our Country. It is nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party. The reporting is so false, biased and evil that it has now become a very sick joke...But the public is aware! #CROOKEDJOURNALISM."

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Trump suggests hitting France with 100 percent tariff on wine over dispute with Macron

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According to a report from Bloomberg, President Donald Trump publicly suggested that he would consider a 100 percent tariff on wines coming from France.

The report states that the president recently made the suggestion as part of his trade war that has crippled American manufacturers and farmers while at the same time hitting American consumers' wallets.

Trump's comments came during a recent Long Island fundraiser and were tied to his unhappiness with President Emmanuel Macron and his tax on multinational technology companies.

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Gun found in FedEx package sent from US to China

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Chinese authorities have found at least one firearm in a FedEx package sent from the US, local police said Sunday, in the latest incident to befall the logistics firm in China.

Police in Fuzhou, eastern Fujian province, said "in recent days" they had received a tip about a package sent to a Fujian-based sporting goods company.

The parcel was sent by a US client and contained at least one firearm, said Jin'an district police through their official Twitter-like Weibo account.

The firearm has been seized and officers are investigating, they added, without specifying the number of weapons in the package.

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