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Coast Guard suspends search for missing Slidell pilot

Coast Guard suspends search for missing Slidell pilot

POSTED: Friday, April 20, 2012 - 1:30pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 20, 2012 - 1:34pm

The search for a missing pilot from Slidell has been suspended says the Coast Guard.

Dr. Peter Hertzak, a physician from suburban New Orleans, was the pilot of that airplane. He suffered some sort of medical emergency during his flight on Thursday, April 19 and became incapacitated.

The craft circles the Gulf of Mexico for hours before making a soft landing into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard was standing ready for a rescue operation. Unfortunately their attempts proved unsuccessful.

In a release issued on Friday, April 20, the Coast Guard says that after more than six hours they suspended the search and rescue operation. Although the plane landed right-side-up, no raft was ever deployed and contact was never made with the pilot via radio.

The plane was heading to Tampa, Florida.

"It would be purely speculative but I think the most likely issue would be loss of pressurization and came down rapidly,” Patrick Quigley, a friend of Dr. Hertzak and fellow pilot, told NBC News. “Now, perhaps the lack of oxygen up there may have impacted him. You are supposed to have back up oxygen if pressurization fails but who knows at this point."

The exact cause of this crash is still under investigation.

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