Bodies of eight victims of Down East plane crash have been recovered

In left front, Kole McInnis, and back row, left to right, Noah Styron, Jake Taylor and Dailey Shepherd. The four were on a plane that crashed off the Core Banks on Feb. 13, 2022. [submitted photo]

The remains have been recovered of the eight victims of Sunday’s plane crash off the Core Banks, and crews have ended their search of the Atlantic Ocean.

According to a news release from the Carteret County Sherriff’s Office Wednesday afternoon, two of the bodies have been positively identified and released to the families.

The other remains were being taken to East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine for further examination and identification.

Eight people were on board the plane when it crashed Sunday afternoon:

  • Ernest “Teen” Rawls, 67, Greenville, pilot
  • Jeffrey Rawls, 28, Greenville
  • Stephanie Fulcher, 42, Sea Level
  • Jonathan “Kole” McInnis, 15, Sea Level
  • Douglas “Hunter” Parks, 45, Sea Level
  • Noah Styron, 15, Cedar Island
  • Michael “Daily” Shepard, 15, Atlantic
  • Jacob “Jake” Taylor, 16, Atlantic

The group was flying from Englehard to Beaufort after participating in a youth day waterfowl hunt at Lake Mattamuskeet a day earlier.

Carteret County 911 and the U.S. Coast Guard was alerted by air traffic control at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine aircraft was seen on radar behaving erratically before disappearing from their screens.

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

Also recovered by divers have been numerous parts of the aircraft, including the flight data recorder.

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

A number of businesses in Carteret County and elsewhere have been collecting funds for the families, while an official fundraising effort has been established by the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island:

The Hyde County Schools have announced they will honor the memory of the victims of the crash during school on Thursday and Friday.

Other Outer Banks schools and organizations are also calling for similar tributes the rest of the week: