AUTHORITIES believe they have found debris from a United States-bound plane near Eleuthera but have not given up searching for the four people on board, who include two young boys and a prominent New York businesswoman, the US Coast Guard said on Wednesday morning.
Material recovered from the sea east of Eleuthera was determined to have come from a twin-engine Mitsubishi MU-2B aircraft, the type with which air traffic control lost contact as it travelled from Puerto Rico to Florida on Monday, said Lt Cmdr Ryan Kelly, a Coast Guard spokesman.
"The debris does match up with that style of aircraft and we have notified the family," Kelly said. A search for the people on board was ongoing and expected to continue, he said.
Authorities searching for the small plane found debris that appeared to be from a plane and an oil slick in waters east of Eleuthera on Tuesday afternoon.
The USCG said the Mitsubishi MU-2B was 37 miles east of Eleuthera on Monday afternoon when air traffic control in Miami lost radar and radio contact with the plane. It was en route from Puerto Rico and never made it to its destination of Titusville, on the northeastern coast of Florida.
The people on board the plane - tail number N220N - were identified as Nathan Ulrich, 52, of Lee, New Hampshire, and Jennifer Blumin, 40, of New York, along with her sons Phineas, 4, and Theodore, 3.
Ms Blumin was founder and CEO of Skylight Group, which provides event space around New York City, specialising in the fashion industry. The company released a statement confirming that she and members of her family were on the plane.
“Her family is working with investigators and we politely ask that you respect their privacy at this time,” the company said.
The plane was at about 24,000 feet when air traffic control lost contact shortly after 2pm on Monday. “There’s no indication of significant adverse weather at the time,” Lt Cmdr Kelly said.
Mr Ulrich was listed as the pilot but it was not known who was flying it at the time, the spokesman said. Ms Blumin owned the plane through a consulting company, according to New York State and aviation records. New Hampshire-based Mr Ulrich is the founder and co-owner of Xootr, a company that manufactures kick scooters and folding bicycles.
Coast Guard aircraft were searching along with Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force about 40 miles east of Eleuthera. A Coast Guard cutter was dispatched to the area and was expected to arrive late on Tuesday to assist with the search.