The U.S. Coast Guard and local harbormasters are searching for a plane that may have crashed off the coast of Cape Cod.
The downed plane -- a white and beige Piper 28 aircraft -- was reported missing off Nauset Beach in Orleans, Massachusetts. A male pilot was on board, the Coast Guard said.
The original call was made to the Air Force Regional Command Center by a concerned friend who was waiting for the plane and its pilot at Chatham Airport. The Air Force then contacted the Coast Guard command center.
The single-engine plane was flying from Pennsylvania and expected to land in Chatham on Sunday night around 8:30 p.m. The U.S. Air Force called the Coast Guard around 10:30 p.m. to report that the plane was missing.
The Coast Guard said they received a report at 10:34 p.m. Sunday from the Air Force Regional Command Center reporting a possible downed, white and beige, Piper 28 aircraft four miles east of Sampson Island.
The aircraft's last transmitted transponder signal was at 6:49 p.m., descending at 4,000 feet per minute.
The FAA issued an Alert Notice advising local public safety agencies that the plane was reported missing around 10 p.m. Weather at the time of the call was three- to six-foot seas with 15 mph winds, the Coast Guard said.
Crews are actively searching with a helicopter, a 144 Ocean Sentry from Air Station Cape Cod, Coast Guard Cutters Spencer and Sanibel -- which are vessels at least 65 feet in length -- and the Chatham Coast Guard station’s 45-foot response boat, in conjunction with harbormasters from Harwich, Chatham and Orleans.
Eastham and Orleans fire deployed small boats Into Nauset Harbor at around 9:30 a.m. to help look for debris. The Barnstable Sheriff's Office also sent mobile command posts to Nauset Beach to assist in the search for the downed plane Monday morning.
“Orleans just went south through the marsh and we’re going to head toward the north end and check all around and see if we find any debris or anything," Jim McGrath of the Eastham Fire Department said.
No further information was immediately available.