Pilot ejected from plane without parachute

March 29, 2013 at 9:06 PM

EAST BRAINERD, Tenn., March 29 (UPI) -- Police in Tennessee searched Friday for a pilot trainee who was ejected from his experimental plane without a parachute while his instructor sat next to him.

Collegedale police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office were searching the ground in the East Brainerd/Apison area for signs of the trainee, who was not wearing his seat belt when the canopy of his Zodiac 601 came off about 2,500 feet off the ground, Collegedale Municipal Airport employee Lowell Sterchi told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The instructor was able to land the plane but was badly shaken, the newspaper said.

The trainee had his and the instructor's cellphones, which were being pinged in an effort to locate the body. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified, Sterchi said.

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