Coast Guard suspends search for missing airplane 15 miles east of Eleuthera, Bahamas

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bernard Webber file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bernard Webber file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

MIAMI – The Coast Guard suspended the search at 8:45 p.m. Thursday for four people 15 miles east of Eleuthera, Bahamas.

Missing are Jennifer Blumin, 40, from New York City, Nathan Ulrich, 52, from Lee, New Hampshire, and Blumin’s 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons.

“This was a swift and significant loss and its impact has reverberated through everyone that participated in the search,” said Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved.”

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater C-130 Hercules airplane crews; Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews; a Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, C-130 Hercules airplane crew; Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crews; the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber crew searched for over 75 hours covering more than 11,140 square miles, an area larger than the state of Massachusetts.

The U.S. Air Force, Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force also assisted with the search.

Watch standers with the Coast Guard Seventh District Command Center received a report from Miami Air Traffic Control at 2:10 p.m. Monday of lost radar and radio contact from of a MU-2B airplane approximately 37 miles east of Eleuthera. Communication was reported to be lost at 24,000 feet with a speed of 300 knots.

The airplane departed Borinquen, Puerto Rico, at approximately 11 a.m. Monday en route to Titusville, Florida.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located a fuel sheen and a debris field 15 miles east of Eleuthera, Bahamas. The helicopter crew was able to lower a rescue swimmer and retrieve some of the debris to transfer ashore for identification. Some airplane components recovered from the debris were confirmed to be from an MU-2B airplane.

A National Transportation Safety Board accident investigator has been assigned to this case to determine the probable cause of this accident.

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