At 9:45 a.m. Thursday, a distress call was made from a Piper PA-46 single-engine aircraft as it quickly lost altitude near Ponte Vedra, prompting a search that lasted 56 hours and spanned about 1400 square miles.
“The suspension of an active search and rescue case is never an easy decision to make,” said Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator for the Coast Guard 7th district. “We always want the best case scenario to happen and will continue to monitor for new information that could aid responders.”
The plane was en route to New Jersey from Orlando in a flight estimated to be under four hours.
Multiple agencies responded to the crash:
- Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew
- Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew
- Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew
- Coast Guard Station Mayport 45-foot Response Boat – Medium crew
- U.S. Navy assets
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- St. Johns and St. Augustine Fire & Rescue
- St. Johns County Sheriff's Office
The identities of the people on the plane are unknown at this time.
The FAA said it will investigate the crash and that the National Transportation Safety Board will determine what caused the accident.