NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – The search for four people who went missing after the plane in which they were traveling disappeared off the coast of the island Eleuthera, has been suspended.
The search, conducted by the United States Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force was suspended late Thursday.
Missing are Jennifer Blumin, 40, from New York City,Nathan Ulrich, 52, from Lee, New Hampshire, and Blumin's 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons.
“This was a swift and significant loss and its impact has reverberated through everyone that participated in the search,” said Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved.”
The search was conducted for 75 hours covering more than11, 140 square miles.
The New York family and Ulrich went missing when shortly after 2:10 pm (local time) Miami Air Traffic Control lost radar and radio contact from of a MU-2B airplane approximately 37 miles east of Eleuthera.
Communication was reported to be lost at 24,000 feet with a speed of 300 knots.
The airplane departed Borinquen, Puerto Rico, at approximately11:00am Monday en route to Titusville, Florida.
On Tuesday afternoon, Coast Guard helicopter crew located fuel sheen and debris field 15 miles east of Eleuthera.
The helicopter crew was able to lower a rescue swimmer and retrieve some of the debris to transfer ashore for identification.
Some airplane components recovered from the debris were confirmed to be from an MU-2B airplane.
A National Transportation Safety Board accident investigator has been assigned to this case to determine the probable cause of this accident.
Meanwhile, the coast guard suspended another search on Thursday. This was for a woman – Isabella Hellman, 41, of Delray Beach in Florida, who went missing 30miles west of Cay Sal.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms Hellman in this difficult time,” said Captain Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response for the Coast Guard Seventh District.
“Suspending a search is never an easy call to make and was made with deep consideration in this tragic case.”
On Monday the coast guard was notified that the owner of a 37 foot catamaran “Surf into Summer” Lewis Bennett said he was abandoning his vessel and didn't know where his wife, Hellman, was.
Response crews arrived on scene and rescued Bennett from a life raft, there was also no sign of his wife.