Coast Guard suspends search for missing aircraft

MIAMI – The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search at approximately 6 p.m. Wednesday for a missing aircraft with 11 people aboard that disappeared after making an emergency call at 4:48 p.m. Monday while traveling from Santiago, Dominican Republic to Mayaguana, Bahamas.

The Coast Guard launched an extensive search of the area four nautical miles west of the Turks and Caicos Islands immediately upon notification of the distress call.

More than 5,300 square miles were searched using multiple Coast Guard assets including the cutter Bear, an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit embarked on Bear, HU-25 Falcon jet crews from Air Station Miami and C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft crews and HH-60 Jayhawk aircraft crews, both from Air Station Clearwater, Fla. The Coast Guard also initiated an extensive effort to determine if the plane landed at any airports, airfields or airstrips in the Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. Authorities from the Turks and Caicos Islands police department assisted with coastal searches.

“It is always a difficult decision to suspend a search effort without resolution,” said Lt. Matt Moorlag, Seventh Coast Guard District public affairs officer. “Despite the extensive search efforts of our rescue crews, often in difficult and dangerous weather conditions, the aircraft and its passengers have not been located.”

The Coast Guard will continue to work with authorities, including the governments of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic to determine what happened to the aircraft and its passengers.

Any persons with information regarding the whereabouts of this aircraft or its passengers are asked to contact Rescue Coordination Center Miami at (305) 415-6800.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bear is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

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