MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says an oil and gas sheen was spotted about 9 miles north of Big Pine Key as law enforcement and Coast Guard crews search for a missing couple who was flying a small plane to the Keys.
Their dive team along with Coast Guard are currently searching in that area.
Relatives of Ali Tufo, 36, said she and her boyfriend, Tommy Campana, left on his small, single-engine plane from Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.
“She doesn’t just go off the grid for days at a time,” Tufo’s cousin, Samantha Tufo, said.
Loved ones say Ali Tufo and Campana were heading to Key West. They took off in Campana’s Vans RV-12, but never made it.
“I’m trying to be optimistic, but I’m thinking the worst,” Ali Tufo’s other cousin, Alycia Tufo, said.
The U.S. Coast Guard believes their plane came down somewhere near Big Pine Key, where teams are now searching.
" I don’t know if Tommy was fully prepared to handle this plane,” said Lana Tufo, Tufo’s sister.
The Federal Aviation Administration says they alerted local authorities at 1:16 p.m. Tuesday, that the plane was missing and has not confirmed if Campana submitted a flight plan. He also did not have a FlightAware tracking system, which experts say isn’t uncommon for small single engine planes.
In a statement, the FAA said: “The FAA does not require private aircraft operators to file flight plans, but recommends they do.”
" I don’t know why someone would do that, especially if you’re trying to have safety mechanisms in place. She told me tommy was an amateur pilot and he had gotten his license and they had been going up into the air and she was really scared to go up in a small plane. But she was so happy she overcame her fear,” said Lana Tufo.