CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP/WTXF) - Authorities are searching for the pilot of a single-engine plane that illegally landed on a Coast Guard beach in New Jersey.
The Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May increased security after the craft landed on its beach just before 8 p.m. Sunday. Normal security operations have since been resumed.
The Coast Guard says officers became aware of the incident when the plane was spotted on closed-circuit cameras.
"At this point we are confident the missing pilot is not aboard the training center," said Chief Warrant Officer John Edwards, training center spokesperson..
There was no sign of the pilot. The owner of Paramount Air Service tells FOX 29 that the Piper PA12 was taken without permission by the owner's 50-year-old stepson Jimmy Dahlen Jr. who apparently went out on a joyride. They say they had no idea he had taken the plane until police knocked at their door. Now, the family is trying to track him down, too.
"After working with Cape May County Sheriff's Department's K-9 unit, which indicated the pilot's scent lead away from the training center, as well as physical tracks from the plane and security camera footage showing the pilot heading away from the training center itself, the command decided to resume standard security measures," said Edwards
Several local, state and federal agencies are on scene investigating. They had to chop the plane to remove it from the coast guard grounds.