NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
North Carolina authorities said Monday that it appears none of the eight people aboard a small private airplane that crashed off the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend have survived as crews continue to search debris areas.
One body has been recovered and identified, Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck told reporters. He declined to release the identity of the deceased passenger.
“We have no indication that anyone survived the crash,” he said.
He said most of the family members of the passengers live in coastal Carteret County.
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Matthew Baer told reporters that multiple vessels from various agencies are continuing the search.
“We’ve got an all-hands-on-deck event going on here,” Baer said. “And we want the citizens of Carteret County and eastern North Carolina to know that your Coast Guard is out there doing our absolute best alongside our partners.”
Search crews were searching three separate debris fields. In a news release, the Coast Guard said it received a report of a possible down aircraft about 4 miles east of Drum Inlet from a Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point air traffic controller. The controller said the plane was seen “behaving erratically” on the radar and then disappeared from the radar screen.
The single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47 crashed into the water approximately 18 miles northeast of Michael J. Smith Field in Beaufort, North Carolina, about 2 p.m. local time Sunday, according to an email from the Federal Aviation Administration. A preliminary accident notification on the FAA’s website noted that the aircraft “crashed into water under unknown circumstances.”
A local news station identified two of the missing passengers as Hunter Parks and Parks’ girlfriend, Stephanie Fulcher. A friend and business partner of Parks’ told WITN-TV that the pair were returning from a duck hunting trip when the crash occurred.
“He was one of the most generous people I know and he had a duck hunting property and he had invited a large number of youth and veterans,” Tom Harrison said. “There’s a special duck season, a 1-day duck season for youth and veterans and he had invited them all to his property to duck hunt. And they had hunted there Saturday and were still in Hyde County at lunch time yesterday and flew home yesterday when the accident happened.”
In a Monday afternoon tweet, Gov. Roy Cooper thanked local and state agencies as well as the Coast Guard for supporting search efforts.
“Our prayers and deep concerns go to the families and loved ones of the passengers,” he wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.