CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation for the missing private plane off the coast of Charleston.
This comes after the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the missing aircraft, which had five passengers aboard, Sunday morning.
“It is with a heavy heart that we suspend our search for the missing aircraft and its five passengers,” Coast Guard Sector Charleston Capt. John Reed said. “I have spoken with the family of those that were on this plane and extend my deepest sympathies to them and all those who have been hit by this tragic loss at sea.”
The plane, a Piper PA-31, disappeared Thursday morning, according to Federal Aviation Administration officials.
As of Sunday morning, the Coast Guard searched approximately 3,516 square miles over 76 hours.
The aircraft departed from Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews, SC, and was headed to the Bahamas, FAA officials said.
Officials with the Coast Guard say they were initially notified at 11:33 a.m. regarding the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center receiving a report from the aircraft of an in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar, and notified the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.
Crews with the US Navy and the Coast Guard were dispatched to search for the plane.
Coast guard officials say the following aircraft and vessels responded to the search area:
- Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City HC-130 Hercules aircraft
- Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
- Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton
- Coast Guard Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal
- Commercial vessel Seabulk Challenge
- Navy P-3 Orion