MILTON, Fla. - Update: Authorities say the pilot who allegedly abandoned his plane in mid-air is alive. After parachuting out of his plane over Harpersville, Marc Schrenker, 38, contacted an officer at a store in Childersburg and said that he had been in a canoeing accident with some friends.
The officer identified Schrenker by means of an Indiana DriversLicense. Officers in that jurisdiction were unaware of the planecrash incident at that time and took the subject to a nearby hotelin Harpersville, AL.
After hearing about the airplane crash, Childersburg PoliceDepartment contacted Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office deputiesand confirmed that Schrenker was taken to a hotel in Harpersville.Schrenker checked into the hotel under a fictitious name. Whenauthorities entered Schrenker's room he was not there.Investigators say, after Schrenker paid for his room with cash, heput on a black toboggan cap and ran into the woods located next tothe hotel.
Update: The Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office hasconfirmed the pilot who parachuted out of a failing plane has beenfound alive. He has has been identified as Marc Schrenker.Authorities say he parachuted out of the plane over Harpersville,Alabama.
The plane crashed late Sunday night in a marshy area of EastMilton. The pilot had radioed in a distress call near Birmingham,before losing communication with air traffic controllers.
The FAA believes the Schrenker could have parachuted out of theplane just past Birmingham. The question is, if that happened, whydid he put the plane on auto-pilot and parachute out instead oftrying to land.
Schrenker's 6 seater plane went down late Sunday night in amarshy area of East Milton. He had radioed in a distress callbefore losing communication with air traffic controllers. Militaryjets were called in to help. The pilots saw the plane as it wentdown.
The plane was a single engine, 6 seater Piper PA46. The crashwas reported at 9:15 p.m.
The wreckage of the plane was found about 100 yards behind aresidence on Lakeside Drive in East Milton. The plane crashed intoa wooded, swampy area.
A search for the pilot began immediately. Helicopters, otheraircraft, boats, and dogs were all used in the search.
The plane was enroute from Indiana to Destin, Florida.
Schrenker radioed for help near Birmingham, Alabama. Hisdistress call said his windshield had imploded and he had severebleeding.
Air Traffic Controllers in Atlanta tried to radio the pilot toland at the Pell City Airport, but they could not get him torespond.
Military Jets from Whiting Field were launched to intercept theplane. The Jets caught up to the plane, but the pilots say the doorto the plane was open and the cockpit was dark. They could not seethe pilot, nor could they reach him by radio, and no blood wasfound. The Military stayed with the plane until it crashed one milenorth of Peter Prince Airport in Milton.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the NationalTransportation Safety Board (NTSB) are expected in Milton Monday toinvestigate.
Fox10 News will be covering this story throughout the day. Wewill be updating information here on our website. ChristinaLeavenworth will have a full report Monday evening on FOX10 Newsbeginning at 5:00 p.m.
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