Coast Guard suspends search for downed Piper Saratoga aircraft

Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft file photo

Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft file photo

MIAMI — The Coast Guard suspended its search for a downed Piper Saratoga aircraft with two people aboard 23 miles east of Palm Beach Sunday.

The Coast Guard conducted maritime and aerial searches for more than 32 hours and concentrated in an area of 1,164 square nautical miles. Numerous other searches were conducted by Palm Beach Sheriff Office and partner agencies.

”Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we ever have to make, and it is never made lightly,” said Capt Mark Vlaun, Deputy Commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami, “We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts and extend our sympathies for what we know is a very difficult time for them.”

The Coast Guard began searching after Coast Guard Seventh District command center watchstanders received notification from the Federal Aviation Administration Friday the Piper Saratoga aircraft with two people aboard went down 23 miles east of Palm Beach.

Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL-754), Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark (WPC-116), MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet along with partner agencies, searched an area 23 miles east of Palm Beach, which was the last known position of the aircraft.

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