The Coast Guard continues to look for survivors from an aircraft that crashed in the Outer Banks on Sunday.
Researchers found a debris field in the ocean where a small North Carolina plane carrying eight people went down Sunday, the Coast Guard said Monday.
News Channel 12 reported that four of those on board were likely teenagers from Carteret County. The group was on a hunting trip in Hyde County when the plane dropped off the radar.
Coast Guard officials said Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point air traffic controller informed them of an aircraft crash 4 miles east of Drum Inlet in the Outer Banks.
Plane Flying ‘Erratically’ Before Crash
Before disappearing, the controller reported seeing the aircraft “behaving erratically on the radar.”
According to a Federal Aviation Administration email, the plane, a single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47, crashed into the water nearly 18 miles northeast of Michael J. Smith Field in Beaufort, N.C., around 2 p.m. local time Sunday.
A preliminary accident notification on the FAA’s website attributed the Outer Banks plane crash to “unknown circumstances.”
FlightAware listed a departure for that plane from Hyde County Airport at 1:35 p.m. Sunday. Radar picked up the plane near Beaufort, N.C., at 2:01 p.m.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said searchers came to the Outer Banks area and came across the debris field.
The search included boat crews launched from Coast Guard Station Fort Macon and Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet. There was also an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Air Station Elizabeth City working with additional help from local fire and sheriff’s department personnel. The agency added that National Park Service beach crews also participated in the search efforts.
The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted Monday that it is investigating the crash.
School System Released Statement About Sunday Crash
Outer Banks Today reported that the Carteret County Public School System had released a statement.
“We are incredibly saddened as we join with the Down East and Eastern North Carolina community as we await official word on the airplane crash off the coast of Drum Inlet, North Carolina. Crisis teams are on school campuses to support students, staff, and families.”