Bizarre: Hunt for pilot who jumped from airplane over Alabama skies

Marcus J. Schrenker
Marcus J. Schrenker

MILTON, FL (WSFA) - A bizarre story involving a plane crash with no pilot is developing in Florida and northern Alabama Monday.

Authorities in Santa Rosa County Florida rushed to a reported plane crash Sunday evening after the pilot declared an emergency saying his windshield had imploded and he was bleeding profusely.

Marcus Schrenker, 38, was piloting a Piper PA-46 Turbo Prop from Indiana to Destin, Florida when he declared the in-flight emergency approximately 35 miles southwest of Birmingham, Alabama.

When emergency crews arrived on the scene the plane's door was open, there was no blood present and the pilot was no where to be found. Investigators surmise that the Schrenker put the plane on autopilot and jumped from the craft.

Around 2:30am Monday morning the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's office received a call from the police department in Childersburg, Alabama where officers said they had come into contact with Schrenker.

He was wet from the knees down according to a deputy, who identified him through his Indiana drivers licence. The man told the officer he'd been in a canoeing accident with friends but didn't appear to have any injuries.

Because the Childersburg Police Department was unaware of Schrenker's plane crash in Florida he was helped to a nearby hotel in Harpersville.

After hearing of the plane crash, and noticing that Schrenker had what appeared to be a pair of goggles used for flying, Childersburg police contacted the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department.

When authorities went back to the hotel Schrenker, who had checked into the room under a false name using cash, was not there. Authorities say the suspect put on a black toboggan and ran into the woods near the hotel.

Now, numerous local, state and federal authorities are working in Alabama, Florida and Indiana to find Schrenker.

The FAA and NTSB are now investigating the crash of the airplane.

At this time there is now word on the man's motives, though WSFA 12 News will continue to follow this story.