UPDATED, Monday 11 a.m.: Eight people, including possibly four teens, were reportedly onboard a single-engine airplane that went down off Cape Lookout National Seashore Sunday afternoon.
The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted by air traffic control at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that an airplane was seen on radar behaving erratically before disappearing from their screens.
The plane is believed to have gone down approximately four miles east of Drum Inlet and the Core Banks around 2 p.m.
A Coast Guard Station Fort Macon Motor Lifeboat crew was launched along with a Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet Response Boat-Small boat crew. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Air Station Elizabeth City was also launched to search the area.
A total of eight people have been confirmed to have been aboard the Pilatus PC-12 single engine passenger aircraft. News Channel 12 reported Monday four of those on board are believed to be teenagers from Carteret County, and the group was returning from a hunting trip in Hyde County when the plane disappeared from radar.
An area of floating debris was initially found late Sunday and then again Monday morning, WNCT-TV 9 reported.
The Carteret County Public School System has released a statement about the crash and the student or students involved:
“We are incredibly saddened as we 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, North Carolina. Crisis teams are on school campuses to support students, staff and families.”
Also involved in the search are Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch, National Park Service beach crews, Towboat U.S., Carteret County Sheriffs Office and Down East Fire Department.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration released a statement to News Channel 12 on Sunday: “The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.”