The search of a debris field in the Bermuda Triangle yielded “confirmed components” of the type of small plane that went missing Monday afternoon with four passengers, including a Manhattan CEO and her two young sons, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.
Part of a seat and an air intake plug were found, the Coast Guard said, as the search for survivors continued Wednesday morning. A swimmer was lowered by helicopter into the Atlantic Ocean to collect debris and a Coast Guard cutter patrolled the area.
A fuel slick was also found, according to National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss, who said that agency is investigating the crash.
The Coast Guard said the fuel slick was found within the debris field, which was discovered by a Clearwater, Florida-based Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew Tuesday afternoon about 15 miles east of Eleuthera, Bahamas.
The passengers on the twin-engine Mitsubishi MU-2B bound for Florida from Puerto Rico were identified as Jennifer Blumin, 40, her 3- and 4-year-old sons, and Nathan Ulrich, 52, of Lee, New Hampshire. Communications were lost on Monday afternoon while the plane was about 37 miles east of Eleuthera, the U.S. Coast Guard said, and Ulrich was listed as the pilot.
“Parts in the debris field appear to be from that airplane. We believe it’s debris from the plane,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woodall said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
The Coast Guard had been searching for the plane since Miami air traffic control reported it had lost radio and radar contact at 2:10 p.m. Monday.
On Tuesday at about 3:30 p.m., the helicopter crew found the debris field.
The plane was traveling at a speed of about 300 knots and was 24,000 feet above the ground when it lost contact with air traffic control, the Coast Guard said. The trip began in Borinquen, Puerto Rico, at about 11 a.m., the Coast Guard said, and the travelers were headed for Titusville, Florida.
Blumin is the founder and chief executive of Skylight Group, a Manhattan firm that finds venues for top fashion shows.
“We can confirm that the plane carrying Jennifer Blumin and members of her family has gone missing after taking off from Puerto Rico yesterday,” a company official said in an email statement Tuesday. “Her family is working with investigators and we politely ask that you respect their privacy at this time.”
The 10-seat plane is registered to Ithaca Consulting, which is listed as having the same Long Island address where records also show Blumin and James Ramsey own a home.
Ramsey is a Manhattan architect and principal of the design studio Raad. He was not available for comment through his firm.
Ulrich owns Xootr LLC, which makes scooters and is also the technical director of Radon Sport LLC, which works on race cars, according to his LinkedIn page.
The Coast Guard said it deployed a C-130 Hercules airplane crew to search for the overdue plane on Monday. On Tuesday, it said it sent out another C-130 Hercules and a Jayhawk helicopter crew to continue the search.
With Joan Gralla