Coast Guard suspends search for passengers of downed aircraft

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – The Coast Guard suspended the search for the passengers of a downed aircraft approximately 4 miles east of Drum Inlet, North Carolina Tuesday afternoon.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center received a report at 2:13 p.m. Sunday, of a possible downed aircraft from an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point informing that the aircraft was seen behaving erratically on radar and then disappeared from the radar screen.

A total of 8 people were aboard the Pilatus PC-12 single engine passenger aircraft. The Coast Guard searched 2,014 square miles over a period of 48 hours.

“The Coast Guard will continue to work alongside our local partners through ongoing recovery operations. Our deepest sympathies are with the Down East community,” said Capt. Matt Baer, sector commander, Sector North Carolina. “We are grateful for the outstanding collaboration we have had with our state and local partners, as well as numerous volunteers.”

Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch
  • Coast Guard Cutter Richard Snyder
  • Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane
  • Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
  • Coast Guard Station Fort Macon Motor Lifeboat
  • Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet Response Boat-Small
  • National Park Service beach crews
  • Towboat U.S.
  • Carteret County Sheriff’s Office
  • Carteret County Emergency Services
  • Down East Fire Department
  • Morehead City Fire Department
  • Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point units

The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Snyder will assist local law enforcement with recovery efforts. The National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

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