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ONE person has been found dead after a small plane crashed off the coast of North Carolina.
In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck along with the US Coast Guard shared details about the investigation.
According to Buck, one body had been recovered but the search for the other seven is continuing. “We have no indication that anyone survived the crash.”
WITN reported that a businessman and his girlfriend are believed to be among the missing.
Hunter Parks and his girlfriend, Stephanie Fulcher, were returning from a duck hunting trip in Hyde County when the plane they were on crashed Sunday, said Tom Harrison.
“He was one of the most generous people I know and he had a dunk hunting property and he had invited a large number of youth veterans,” said Harrison.
“There’s a special duck season, a 1-day duck season for youth and veterans and he had invited them all to his property to duck hunt.
“And they had hunted there Saturday and were still in Hyde County at lunchtime yesterday and flew home yesterday when the accident happened,”
Harrison also said that there were four boys from the Carteret County area that were on the flight as well.
PLANE ‘BEHAVING ERRATICALLY’
According to officials, Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center watchstanders got a report of a possible downed aircraft from an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point around 2 pm on Sunday.
The report noted the aircraft was “behaving erratically” on radar before disappearing from the radar screen.
Officials confirmed on Monday that eight people were on board the plane at the time.
Their identities have not been confirmed.
Just after 11am, officials said the debris field where the plane was believed to have crashed was found. Efforts turned to that area in the search for survivors.
According to WNCT, four of the passengers were reportedly students at East Carteret High School. However, these reports have yet to be confirmed by authorities.
The Carteret County Public Schools system released a statement to the outlet, saying: “We are incredibly saddened as we join with the Down East and Eastern North Carolina communities as we await official word on the airplane crash off the coast of Drum Inlet.”
Coast Guard officials say they have two boat crews searching and aircrew from Elizabeth City.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the missing aircraft is a single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
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