Coast Guard searching for missing plane

PORT RICHEY — The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for five people whose plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Authorities say the plane went down about 20 miles west of Port Richey on Wednesday afternoon.

The twin engine Cessna departed from Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas, en route to Tampa with five people on board at about 10 a.m. The Federal Aviation Administration says air traffic controllers in Jacksonville lost radio and radar contact with the plane at 1:52 p.m. after it reported encountering turbulence.

Man dies after direct lightning strike

MELBOURNE BEACH — A man who took a direct lightning strike in Brevard County has died.

The man was hit by the lightning Wednesday afternoon as he tried to get out of the water on Melbourne Beach in central Florida. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Paper dismisses Fla. intern accused of plagiarism

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A sophomore University of Florida student was fired by The Gazette of Colorado Springs after the paper found similar and identical passages from The New York Times in four of her stories.

In a note published on the paper’s Web site Tuesday, Gazette Editor Jeff Thomas offered an apology to readers and said Hailey Mac Arthur had been dismissed from her internship.

8-foot alligator captured in South Florida pool

OAKLAND PARK — Residents in a Fort Lauderdale suburb lassoed an eight-foot alligator to a tree using an extension cord after the reptile had sneaked into their swimming pool.

Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Jachles said the residents in Oakland Park only called 911 after they had captured the large alligator late Tuesday night. About 30 people were gathered around the reptile by the time deputies arrived, but no one would admit to tying up the alligator.

— Herald wire reports