The bodies of a 12-year-old girl and a woman have been found after a single-engine plane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico – the search continues for a third person.
Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe said Monday that the three family members in the rented Piper Cherokee had flown from St. Petersburg to Venice for dinner Saturday and were scheduled to return. This was reported by Fox 13 News.
Local authorities launched a search Sunday morning after the Federal Aviation Administration contacted Venice Municipal Airport about an overdue plane.
Recreational boaters found the body of a 43-year-old woman floating 2.5 miles west of Venice Beach, city spokeswoman Lorraine Anderson said.
Divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office located the wreck about a third of a mile offshore on Sunday around 2 p.m., Anderson said.
The girl’s body was found in the passenger compartment. A man and a third person, possibly the pilot, were missing, he added.
The names of the three people are not being disclosed, the causes of the crash are being investigated.
Scott Harlow, a retired pilot who flew planes like the Chrokee, told Fox 13 that flying at night requires the use of instruments.
“Had it been at night, especially if the pilot was less experienced, the risk would have been greater,” Harlow said. “I was coming down the coast of New England and I did a 180 over the ocean and I was like, ‘Wow!’ I thought. Dark black. You can’t see anything.’
Venice Police, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the US Coast Guard, the FAA and the NTSB are involved in the investigation.