MIAMI (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Coast Guard says authorities have suspended the search for a small plane that apparently crashed into the ocean in the Bahamas with four people on board, including two children and a prominent New York businesswoman.
A Coast Guard statement said the search area covered an expanse of ocean the size of Massachusetts before it was suspended late Thursday.
“This was a swift and significant loss and its impact has reverberated through everyone that participated in the search,” Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator, said in the statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved.”
Air traffic control lost contact with the Mitsubishi MU-2B aircraft while it was heading to Florida from Puerto Rico. A search that included the Coast Guard and Bahamas Defense Forces located plane debris east of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera.
The people on board the plane were identified as Nathan Ulrich, 52, of Lee, New Hampshire, and Jennifer Blumin of New York, 40, along with her 3- and 4-year-old sons.
The U.S. Air Force, Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force also helped with the search.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
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.
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.
Ulrich was listed as the pilot but it was not known who was flying it at the time. 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.)