Zachary Schlitt

Search for two men suspended

By Luis Perez and Kim Wilmath


The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search tonight for two men missing after their plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico 20-miles southwest of Yankeetown.

At 5:40 p.m Tuesday. Coast Guard officials said they were stopping the search pending further developments.

Zachary Schlitt, 28, who lived in West Palm Beach and Darien Peckham, 34, (pictured below), from Tampa, have been missing since Sunday..

Rescue crews searched for them for more than 40 hours over a 2,800-square mile area focusing on two areas where a seat and a flight bag containing aviation headphones were found. There was no sign of the men or their plane.

The two were traveling in a small Tampa-bound plane when, at about 6:45 p.m Sunday, an air traffic controller in Jacksonville reported that their 35-year-old twin-engine, fixed-wing Beech 35 Debonair aircraft, traveling from Tallahassee to Vandenberg Airport, lost contact, according to the FAA.

The Coast Guard says the plane crashed into the gulf shortly after disappearing from radar.