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U.S. Coast Guard Searching For Missing Small Plane Off Key West

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a missing plane in the lower Florida Keys.

Ali Tufo was visiting South Florida from New York City.  She and her boyfriend Tommy got into a small plane, a Vans RV-12 in Palm Beach Sunday and haven't been seen since.

"My cousin took off, 9:30 in the morning," said her cousin Samantha Tufo. She was "with her boyfriend. He was the pilot. And shortly after that they pinged their plane 400 feet above water and that's the last they heard from them," she said.

Samantha and the family in New York are beyond worried at this point. They are desperate for answers as to what happened to them.

"All we can do is wait for the Coast Guard to try to find something or try to figure something out. It's hard because there's not much we can do, it's all we want to do is find her and help."

The Coast Guard says the pair was heading from Palm Beach to Key West on Sunday. Word of them missing came Tuesday.

According to a Coast Guard tweet, searchers have "determined a possible downed aircraft could be approximately 15 miles north of Big Pine." It goes on to say. "Air and surface rescue crews found a sheen, but currently no sign of distress or debris in the search area."

"I want to hold on to hope, I really do," said Samantha. "The fact that today is Thursday and it happened on Sunday and there's still no information, it's horrible," she said.

The family was told radar indicates the plane lost altitude quickly while passing through a storm cell.

"The plane was at 1,089 feet above the water at 9:59 am. 2 seconds later it was at 600 feet and that was right after they went through a cell of bad weather," she said.

Now all Samantha and the family can do is anxiously wait.

"I just think about her and think about where she is. Is she okay? If she's not okay the goal of it all is, I want to bring her home no matter what the outcome is," she said.

For now, the Coast Guard search continues.

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