NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities believe they may have found debris from a missing plane near an island in the Bahamas but have not given up searching for the New York family and their pilot who were on board, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.
Material recovered from the sea east of the island of Eleuthera was determined to have come from a twin-engine MU-2B aircraft, the type that air traffic control lost contact with as it traveled from Puerto Rico to Florida on Monday, said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Kelly, a Coast Guard spokesman.
The debris and an oil slick were spotted in the search area east of Eleuthera Tuesday afternoon.
“The debris does match up with that style of aircraft and we have notified the family,” Kelly said.
A search for the people on board was ongoing and expected to continue, he said. On board were Manhattan businesswoman Jennifer Blumin and her 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons and pilot Nathan Ulrich of New Hampshire.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter Wednesday that it too was investigating the plane’s disappearance.
Blumin is founder and CEO of Skylight Group, which provides event space around New York City, specializing in the fashion industry.
The company released a statement confirming that she and members of her family were on the plane.
“Her family is working with investigators and we politely ask that you respect their privacy at this time,” the company said.
Oscar Smith is a former NYPD search and rescue diver who owns a gym next to Blumin’s apartment in TriBeCa. He remembers seeing the family in the neighborhood.
“Search and rescue teams, hopefully they will find them alive and give that relief to the family,” he told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “That’s what you train for. Your whole thing is not to recover. It’s a rescue operation and then, unfortunately, it just recovery.”
Ulrich is an inventor and race car builder and the ex-husband of actress Rae Dawn Chong, the daughter of comedian and actor Tommy Chong, who tweeted Tuesday, “I am sad and in shock.”
Ulrich was listed as the pilot but it was not known who was flying it at the time, Kelly said. Blumin owned the plane through a consulting company, according to New York State and aviation records.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)