One body recovered, search continues for seven others from plane crash off Core Banks

This area near Drum Inlet was searched for debris of a plane crash that happened Sunday. Eight people were aboard the plane. [courtesy News Channel 12]

Eight people on their way home from a waterfowl hunt over the weekend in Hyde County are believed to have died after a single-engine plane crashed Sunday afternoon into the Atlantic Ocean off the Core Banks.

“We have no indication that anyone survived the crash,” said Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck at a news conference Monday adternoon.

Carteret County 911 and the U.S. Coast Guard was alerted by air traffic control at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that an airplane was seen on radar behaving erratically before disappearing from their screens.

“We have confirmed it took off out of Engelhard over in Hyde County and was bound on a flight (to) Beaufort,” said Capt. Matthew J. Baer, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.

The plane is believed to have gone down approximately four miles east of Drum Inlet in Cape Lookout National Seashore around 2 p.m. The Core Banks is a series of islands south of the Outer Banks that stretches from Ocracoke Inlet to Cape Lookout.

Buck said the body of one person was recovered Sunday and their identity confirmed, while the search continues for the other seven who are assumed to have perished.

Multiple media outlets and social media post have indicated four teenagers from Carteret County were onboard, the co-owner of a hunting lodge in Hyde County and his girlfriend, and the pilot of the Pilatus PC-12 single-engine aircraft.

Governor Roy Cooper also offered his condolences to the families Monday:

The Carteret County Public School System released a statement Monday morning about the crash:

“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.”

News Channel 12 reported Dawn Russell, of Lookout Grocery, sat out a collections bucket for people who wanted to donate to the families.

Russell said “It’s devastating news and it’s hurt everybody. I know it’s not going to offer a whole lot right now but we just hope that it will help.”

Buck said crews from a variety of agencies were working three distinct debris fields in the ocean that had drifted roughly 10 to 15 miles offshore. The fuselage of the aircraft had not been found as of late Monday afternoon.

What may have caused the plane to crash is not yet known. The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation.

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