MIAMI (AP) — Authorities believe they have found debris from a U.S.-bound plane near an island in the Bahamas but have not given up searching for the four people on board, who include two young children and a well-known New York businesswoman, 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 Mitsubishi 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 does match up with that style of aircraft and we have notified the family,” Kelly said.
Search efforts were expected to continue, with a Coast Guard cutter dispatched to the area staying through at least Thursday, officials said.
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.
Blumin is the 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,” it said.
Ulrich served as a Coast Guard Auxiliary pilot out of Air Station Cape Cod from 2005 to 2014 and is co-owner of a company that manufactures kick scooters and folding bicycles. The family issued a statement that read, in part, “”Nathan is our beloved son, brother and uncle and we wish for resolution as the Coast Guard search continues.”
The Coast Guard said it had covered more than 8,200 square miles over 30 hours in a search that was centered about 15 miles east of Eleuthera.
The plane was at about 24,000 feet when air traffic control in Miami lost contact with it for unknown reasons. The National Transportation Safety Board said it would be investigating the incident.