Coast Guard suspends search for downed aircraft in Palm Beach

Aircraft crashed 23 miles east of Palm Beach on Friday


PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the downed Piper Saratoga with two people aboard that crashed 23 miles east of Palm Beach on Sunday.

The Coast Guard conducted maritime and aerial searches for more than 32 hours in a concentrated area of 1,164 square nautical miles. Many other searches were conducted by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and other agencies.

The deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami, Capt. Mark Vlaun, spoke about ending the search.

"Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we ever have to make and it is never made lightly," Vlaun said. "We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts and extend our sympathies for what we know is a very difficult time for them."

The aircraft was carrying Lantana veterinarian Ken Simmons, his wife, Alice Simmon, and their two dogs.

Simmons' plane took off from the Lantana airport Friday afternoon and was heading to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane went down in severe weather at around 1 p.m.

The aircraft disappeared in an area that was under a marine weather advisory, according to reports by the National Weather Service.

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