The bodies of a 12-year-old girl and a woman have been found after a single-engine plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico – and the search for a third person continues.
Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe said Monday that the three family members of the leased Piper Cherokee flew from St. Petersburg to Venice for dinner on Saturday and were expected to return, Fox 13 News reported.
Local authorities launched a search Sunday morning after the Federal Aviation Administration contacted Venice Municipal Airport about the overdue plane.
Boaters found the body of a 43-year-old woman floating about 2.5 miles west of the coast of Venice, city spokeswoman Lorraine Anderson said in a statement.
Divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office located the wreckage around 2 p.m. Sunday about a third of a mile offshore, Anderson said.
The girl’s body was found in the passenger area. The third person, believed to be a man and possibly the pilot, is still missing, she added.
The names of the three people have not been released and the cause of the accident is still 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 was night, there’s just more risk, especially if the pilot wasn’t very experienced,” Harlow said. “I was going down the New England coast and I did a 180 over the ocean and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ It’s pitch black, you can’t see anything.
The Venice Police, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, US Coast Guard, FAA and NTSB are all participating in the investigation.
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New York Post