JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Wednesday evening, Coast Guard officials announced that the search for three people aboard a Lancair single-engine plane that crashed on Monday has been suspended.
According to a release sent by the U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District External Affairs, crews covered more than 3,500 square miles during the search. The Coast Guard and local agencies suspended their efforts at 6:38 p.m. on Wednesday.
A total of 400 combined search hours were amassed by small boat crews from Coast Guard Stations Pascagoula and Gulfport, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans helicopter crews, Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft crews and Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
"Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the missing men," said Capt. Brandon Lechthaler, deputy commander, Coast Guard Sector Mobile. "Suspending a search is a difficult decision to make. Our goal for every search and rescue mission is to find survivors and return them to their loved ones. We'll investigate any new leads on this case and resume searching if appropriate."
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says they are continuing their search for the three men. According to Marine Patrol Chief Keith Davis, MDMR still has 'boats in the water as of Wednesday night, and will continue with a 'massive search with state and local agencies on Thursday'.
"The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is continuing to search for the three passengers of the single-engine aircraft that went down Monday," Davis said. "The Office of Marine Patrol will work with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, the FAA, the NTSB and other local agencies as the investigation continues."
In a separate release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, officials ask that anyone who locates anything they feel may be related to the crash to not touch or retrieve the items, and to call the Sheriff's Department at 228-769-3060 or the Department of Marine Resources at 228-374-5000.