POSTED: Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 12:35pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 20, 2012 - 1:11pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — UPDATE: NBC33 has confirmed that the pilot of the small plane that crashed is Dr. Peter Hertzak, an OBGYN from Slidell, La.
The Coast Guard reports that the plane did a “soft landing,” which means that the crash was not violent. The nose of the plane is submerged into the water and the tail is sticking out. It happened shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 19.
We will have more on this story as it develops.
ORIGINAL STORY: Federal authorities say they're preparing a search and recovery operation in the Gulf of Mexico, expecting that a private plane will soon crash into the water.
They say the pilot is "incapacitated" -- unconscious, apparently -- and the plane has been circling over the Gulf. The say the plane's pattern is well away from land.
They expect the plane will eventually run out of fuel, so they're preparing for the Coast Guard to track it and respond to wherever it goes down.
We're awaiting more information about the pilot and the plane's origin.