UPDATED 3 P.M. WEDNESDAY
WASHINGTON – The Coast Guard said Wednesday morning on Twitter that debris found in waters near the Bahamas on Tuesday came from the same type of plane that vanished in the Bermuda Triangle on Monday.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew searching for four survivors on board the private plane found a debris field 15 miles east of Eleuthera, Bahamas, at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard said in a statement released that evening. The helicopter crew retrieved some of the debris to transfer ashore for identification, the Coast Guard had said.
Missing are Jennifer Blumin, 40, a CEO from New York City, and her two sons, Theodore, 3, and Phineas, 4, along with Nathan Ulrich, 52, from Lee, N.H., who was piloting the plane.
The MU-2B twin-engine turboprop departed Borinquen, Puerto Rico, at about 11 a.m. Monday en route to Titusville, Fla. Air traffic controllers in Miami lost radar and radio contact with the aircraft around 2 p.m. on Monday approximately 37 miles east of Eleuthera and notified the Coast Guard shortly thereafter, the Coast Guard said. Communication was reportedly lost when the plane was flying at 24,000 feet at a speed of 300 knots.
The Coast Guard was using three planes and two helicopters for the search. In addition, the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber was diverted to assist, as well as an Air Force plane. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force also are were assisting in the search.
Blumin is the founder and CEO of Skylight Studios, a Manhattan-based firm that finds historical venues for special events. Ulrich is a co-founder of Xootr folding scooters. He is the ex-husband of actress Rae Dawn Chong, who sent a tweet Tuesday afternoon asking for prayers for his family.
My ex-hubby’s (Nathan Ulrich) plane is missing over the Bermuda Triangle. I am sad and in shock. So send prayers to his family. Thanks.
— Rae Dawn Chong (@Rae_Dawn_Chong) May 16, 2017
The Mitsubishi MU-2 plane has been plagued by safety concerns. Nearly 400 people have died due to MU-2 crashes over the past 50 years. In 2004, the International Aviation Safety Authority published a report on the plane entitled, “The Deadliest Turboprop Ever?” Then-Rep. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) made a statement in 2008 saying, “How many more people need to die … in order for Mitsubishi to recall this aircraft?”
The missing plane is owned by Ithaca Consulting Inc. in Southhold, N.Y. and was registered on Jan. 17, according to FlightAware.com. Blumin is also the CEO of Ithaca Consulting, NBC 4 New York reported. She is a graduate of Cornell, which is located in Ithaca, N.Y.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) May 16, 2017
The Coast Guard also said Tuesday that it was continuing to search for a Delray Beach, Fla., woman who apparently went overboard from a 37-foot cataraman. Isabella Herman, 41, is a real estate broker, the mother of a 9-month-old baby and a newlywed who married a few months ago, her family said.
The Coast Guard rescued her husband, Lewis Bennett, 38, early Monday morning from a life raft near the capsized catamaran about 30 miles west of Cay Sal in the Atlantic Ocean. He told the Coast Guard that he last saw his wife on the helm around 8 p.m. Sunday, when he went to bed. He said he woke up around 1:30 a.m. when he felt the boat hit an unknown object and discovered she was missing.
The Coast Guard said Wednesday afternoon that it had searched more than 5,500 square miles in the past 98 hours for Hellman, using two Coast Guard cutters and a plane.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) May 17, 2017