The bodies of a 12-year-old girl and a woman have been found after a single-engine plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico – and the search continues for a third person.
Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe on Monday said the three family members on the rented Piper Cherokee flew from St. Petersburg to Venice for dinner on Saturday and were supposed to fly back, Fox 13 News reported.
Local authorities launched a search Sunday morning after the Federal Aviation Administration contacted Venice Municipal Airport about the overdue plane.
Recreational boaters found the body of a 43-year-old woman floating about 2.5 miles west of the Venice shore, city spokeswoman Lorraine Anderson said in a statement.
Divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office located the wreckage about 2 p.m. Sunday about a third of a mile offshore, Anderson said.
The body of the girl was found in the passenger area. The third person, believed to be a man and possibly the pilot, remained missing, she added.
The names of the three people have not been released and the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Retired pilot Scott Harlow, who has flown planes like the Chrokee, told Fox 13 that flying at night requires the use of instruments.
“If it were nighttime there’s just more risk especially if the pilot wasn’t very experienced,” Harlow said. “I was going down the coast of New England and I did a 180 over the ocean and was like, ‘Whoa!’ It’s pitch black. You can’t see anything.”
The Venice police, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, the FAA and NTSB are all taking part in the investigation.
With Post wires
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