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1 body found after plane carrying 8 passengers crashes off Outer Banks in NC

A view of the Long Point Cabins at the Cape Lookout National Seashore. A plane carrying eight people went down 4 miles east of the Drum Inlet off the Outer Banks, Sunday, Feb. 13, the U.S. Coast Guard says. (U.S. National Park Service/TNS)

One body has been found in the search for a plane with eight passengers that crashed Sunday, east of Drum Inlet on the Outer Banks, the U.S. Coast Guard reports.

Searchers do not believe there were any survivors, according to a news conference video posted by Fox 8.

The identity of the person who was found has not been released. The body was discovered Feb. 13, officials said. 

A search is underway for the other seven passengers and plane, which is described as a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine passenger aircraft. There are three debris field associated with the crash — some as far as 15 miles offshore — but the fuselage has not been found, officials said at the news conference.

The eight people may have included four teens “returning from a hunting trip,” station WCTI reported.

It’s believed some of the teens may have been students in the Carteret County Public Schools, and the district issued a statement Monday.

“We are incredibly saddened and 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,” district officials said in an email to McClatchy News.

“Crisis teams are on school campuses to support students, staff and families.”

An air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on the North Carolina coast first reported observing an aircraft “behaving erratically on radar and then disappeared from the radar screen,” officials said.

The plane departed from Hyde County and was bound for Beaufort, N.C., when it fell off radar, officials said.

A statement posted by the East Carolina Community Emergency Response Team reported the plane fell off radar round 2 p.m. “just east of Beaufort, N.C.” The four teens aboard had been at “a youth hunt in Hyde County and (were) heading back to Stacy when something caused their plane to divert,” the post said.

The crash site would put the plane in the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Outer Banks, which is an area of colliding north-south currents. Drum Inlet is a passage through Cape Lookout National Seashore, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Core Sound.

Boats from multiple agencies and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter are being used in the ongoing search, officials said.

The National Park Service and Carteret County Sheriff’s Office are also participating in the search, officials said.

National Park Service officials reported Monday that no crash debris had turned up on the beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a 2 p.m. tweet on Feb. 14 that it is investigating the crash and a search continues for the plane.

N.C. Ducks Unlimited called the crash “a heartbreaking day in the waterfowling community.”

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