BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – Divers from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office have recovered a pilot’s body from inside a small plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Boynton Beach Inlet, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Monday.
Officials later identified the pilot as 24-year-old Abhishek Patter.
The plane crashed into the water Sunday night about one mile from the Boynton Beach Inlet and the plane was finally located by the Coast Guard and local agencies on Monday morning.
According to Coast Guard officials, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that Patter was the sole occupant aboard the single-engine Piper PA-28 aircraft, which seats four passengers.
A spokeswoman from the FAA confirmed to Local 10 News Monday that the plane disappeared shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday while flying from Palm Beach County Park Airport to Merritt Island Airport, just north of Melbourne.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, small boat and cutter conducted a search and rescue mission throughout the evening. They were back out again Monday morning to continue their search efforts, along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which was in charge of the search.
A witness, Jonathan Whitmore, told ABC affiliate WPBF that he was fishing at the North Pier when the plane went down. He said it was flying from west to east, out toward the ocean when it crashed into the water.
At one point, he and others fishing with him heard a noise, he said.
“When we looked up, we thought it was a drone or something and all of a sudden we heard a loud boom and we saw the plane nose dive into the water,” Whitmore said.
“Our sincere condolences go out to the family who lost their loved one,” said Capt. Jo-Ann Burdian, Sector Commander of Sector Miami. “The Coast Guard and our partner agencies who participated in this search truly hoped for a different outcome to this tragic situation.”
(Assignment desk editor Wilson Louis contributed to this story.)