A child was killed and the body of a woman was found after the wreckage of a small airplane was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico, authorities confirmed Sunday. Crews were still searching for the pilot.
On Sunday afternoon, the wreckage of a rented single-engine Piper Cherokee was found about one-third of a mile west offshore from the Venice Municipal Airport, the city of Venice, Florida, said on Twitter.
“Just after 2 p.m., the missing Piper Cherokee was located. Divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office located a deceased juvenile within the plane’s passenger area,” the city said.
The plane departed the Venice Municipal Airport at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday with three people on board, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The investigation into the missing plane began around 10 a.m. ET Sunday after the FAA asked the Venice Police Department to check with the Venice Municipal Airport because the plane was overdue, authorities said.
At around the same time, the city of Venice said, recreational boaters found the body of a woman floating 2.5 miles west of Venice Beach. Authorities have not confirmed if that woman was one of the passengers.
Authorities believe that a male pilot or passenger was also onboard the plane, but that person has not been located.
“At this time, search efforts are continuing for a potential missing male occupant, the search effort will continue until sunset and resume as conditions allow,” the city of Venice said.
The crash will be investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board, with the NTSB leading the investigation and providing additional updates, the FAA said in a statement.
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