NEW ORLEANS — A U.S. Coast Guard plane and a Mexican Navy vessel searched the Gulf of Mexico for a small plane Thursday after a trauma surgeon flew the aircraft hundreds of miles beyond its intended destination.
The pilot, Dr. Steven Schumacher, formerly worked for Kettering Medical Center from March 2011 through March 2013 as medical director of the trauma program, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His family reported him overdue at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, two hours after he was scheduled to end a trip from Cape Giradeau, Missouri, to Gonzales, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Coast Guard said. Schumacher was the only person aboard the aircraft.
A hangar lease with the Cape Girardeau airport for the 1977 Piper Aztec with tail No. N778PA shows Schumacher signed it for Critical Care Response of St. Petersburg, Florida.
An online flight tracker showed the Piper Aztec’s last known position over the Gulf about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, about 440 miles past Louisiana’s coast, said Petty Officer Sydney Phoenix, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.
Schumacher is a trauma surgeon with Cape Trauma Specialists, a partner organization with St. Francis Healthcare System of Cape Girardeau, St. Francis president and CEO Maryann Reese said in an emailed statement. “The Saint Francis Family is keeping the Schumacher family in our thoughts and prayers as the search continues for him and his private aircraft,” she wrote.
His LinkedIn profile shows he has worked with St. Francis since July 2017. For much of that time he also worked with University Hospitals Cleveland in Ohio. He also has worked for hospitals in New York City and St. Petersburg and spent four months teaching surgery for the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Butare, Rwanda, the profile showed.