The search was suspended Thursday evening for a small airplane that went down in Lake Pontchartrain about 1 mile northeast of Lakefront Airport on Wednesday night, the Coast Guard said.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega said the Cessna 172 had two people on board, a flight instructor and a student.
He said the single-engine aircraft was coming in for a landing when it went into the water about 8:30 p.m.
Vega said a helicopter and a 45-foot boat were participating in the search, which also involved units from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The efforts ended about 6 p.m. Thursday.
“The Coast Guard has searched the 161-square-mile area 13 times over the past 20 hours,” Lt. Cmdr. Mark Molavi said. “We would like to extend our sympathies to the families during this difficult time.”
He said the search was suspended, pending further developments.
Authorities did not immediately identify the two men in the plane, but friends identified the pilot as Burt Lattimore, a longtime airplane and helicopter pilot who gave flying lessons and who regularly flew photographers for The New Orleans Advocate when the newspaper needed aerial photographs.
Nola.com reported that his passenger was Aftab Rab, a student pilot. Attempts to contact his family were not successful.
The Coast Guard provided a tail number for the aircraft, which is owned by Blue Dot Aviation, according to a search of Federal Aviation Administration records.
The company provides training and aerial tours, according to its website.
A man who answered the phone at the business said Lattimore rented the plane and was not an employee. He declined further comment.
Information about the flight recorded on flight aware.com, which tracks commercial and some private flights, shows the plane took off at 8:18 p.m. It was last seen on radar at 8:36 p.m.
Thursday’s windy and rainy weather hampered the search, Vega said, adding that sonar equipment was not working as well as it might otherwise.
A debris field was found in the lake near the plane’s last known location, but it was unclear whether the material was from the missing plane, Vega said.
Wednesday’s crash was the second involving a light plane near Lakefront Airport in the past three months.
On Aug. 22, a single-engine plane made a forced landing in the lake just short of the airport’s runway. The pilot was the only person aboard and was able to swim to shore without injury.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Danny Monteverde on Twitter, @DCMonteverde.