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Pilot missing after plane disappears in waters off Santa Barbara

April 19, 2009 | 10:28 pm

A pilot is missing after his plane disappeared today off the Santa Barbara coast, aviation authorities said.

The single-engine Extra EA-300 had been flying offshore and dropped off radar about 5:30 p.m., said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Within hours, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s ocean rescue team found airplane debris and an oil slick roughly two miles offshore, said Capt. Vince Agapito, a department spokesman. The rescue team retrieved part of a plane and registration information that may belong to the aircraft, he said.

The plane had been registered to Otter Enterprises in Santa Barbara, according to the FAA website. The incident will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

-- David Zahniser

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