Airman who fell from plane above Gulf of Mexico still missing

The massive C-130 is based out of Hurlburt Field, in far northwest Florida.
A C-130 Hercules aircraft
A C-130 Hercules aircraft.Osakabe Yasuo / U.S. Air Force

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By David K. Li

The Air Force, Coast Guard and Army continued their frantic search on Wednesday for an airman who fell out of plane over the Gulf of Mexico, authorities said.

Rescuers scoured a a 7,000-square-mile area near Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola, Florida, following the 11:30 a.m. CT mishap on Tuesday when an airman fell from a C-130, officials said.

"The search area continues to expand and adjust as efforts continue," according to an Air Force statement on Wednesday.

The massive cargo plane was on a training mission and is based out of Hurlburt Field, in Okaloosa County, just outside the town of Mary Esther.

The serviceman has not been identified, but the U.S. Coast Guard told ABC affiliate WEAR-TV that the missing person is a staff sergeant. Witnesses said the airman’s parachute deployed and he was treading water shortly after the fall, WEAR reported.

CORRECTION (Nov. 7, 2019, 7:38 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the network WEAR-TV is affiliated with. It is ABC, not NBC.