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Coast Guard Suspends Search, Confirms ID Of Pilot

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Photo of a plane floating in water. (credit: Mario Tama/GettyImages)

Photo of a plane floating in water. (credit: Mario Tama/GettyImages)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard has confirmed that Dr. Peter Hertzak, a physician from suburban New Orleans, was the pilot of an airplane that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday after flying in circles for hours.

In a Friday news release, the agency also said it has suspended the search for the plane and missing pilot.

The plane was headed from Slidell, La., to Sarasota, Fla., when controllers lost contact with it Thursday morning. Two F-15 fighter jets flew alongside and monitored the plane for hours, unable to contact the pilot, before it crashed into the Gulf about 120 miles west of Tampa, Fla.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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