Cessna 206 with 6 Aboard Crashes off of Puerto Rico

February 9, 2009
Abram I. Bohrer




SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: A single-engine plane carrying six people crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the north coast of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

Authorities located what appears to be the wreckage in waters off the northwestern city of Quebradillas, and helicopters and boats have been searching for survivors, Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said.

Witnesses reported seeing an explosion on the Cessna 206 before it crashed near nightfall Sunday about a half-mile (a kilometer) off shore, police spokeswoman Jessica Cardona said.

The pilot and all five passengers are from the United States mainland, said Louis Luhring, president of Tropical Aviation Corp., the plane’s charter company. Their identities have not been released pending family notification.

The group was flying from La Romana, Dominican Republic to San Juan on a business trip, Luhring said.

Rescue crews have reported seeing oil slicks and part of the plane’s fuselage near the coast, said Heriberto Sauri, director of the U.S. territory’s emergency management agency. Castrodad said officials are hoping the search for survivors will become easier after daybreak.