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NOTICE: Search continues for a downed plane 23 miles off Palm Beach County

#Palm Beach County, Fl., February 2, 2019 – USA – The U.S. Coast Guard’s search for a downed plane in the ocean approximately 23 miles off Palm Beach County continues.  Two people and two dogs were on board the Piper Saratoga when it took off from Lantana at 1 p.m./Friday/01/February 2019, according to officials and flight records.

The fixed-wing single engine plane crashed into the water shortly after takeoff from the Palm Beach County Park Airport, said Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Flight Administration.  The plane had a tail number of *N3016L* and was registered to Simmons Pet Properties LLC in Lantana, online records show.

“We’re still looking for the people and the aircraft,” Seamen Erik Villa-Rodriguez said Friday.

The seven-seater was en route to Marsh Harbour in The Bahamas, which is approximately a 73-minute flight, records show.

A radar map on the flight-tracking site shows severe thunderstorm activity and the plane flying directly into the heart of it before it falls off the radar.  The plane hit heavy turbulence about 10 minutes into the journey with steep climbs, dropping descents and seemingly spinning in every direction, the Piper’s online log shows.

“This is an airplane that is being tossed violently in the sky,” said Robert Katz, a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor who has been flying for 38 years.  The log shows that in the minutes before the Piper crashed, it climbed 729 feet per minute, followed by immediate descents of 814 feet per minute and then 817 feet per minute.  The final radar hit shows a further descent of 438 feet.

Katz, of Dallas, Texas, tracks plane crashes nationwide.  Under those conditions, the plane would be thrown so ferociously that the wings would be ripped off the aircraft, he said.

“This would happen very quickly and the pilot would be fully aware of what was going on and would be terrorized,” Katz said.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has joined in the search and rescue effort.


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