Oil, gas sheen spotted in water during search for couple whose plane is believed to have crashed

Officials say they spotted a clue in the disappearance of a couple traveling to Key West on a small plane

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.

About the Authors:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.