The U.S. Coast Guard San Diego station called off a search for 3 people after an aircraft debris field was found 1 mile southwest of San Clemente Island, Calif. A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk was among several military assets used in a 334 square-mile search for the crash victims. Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard
May 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard San Diego station Thursday morning suspended a search for three people after an aircraft and debris field were found about a mile southwest of U.S. Navy-owned San Clemente Island on Wednesday.
The flight that crashed was a non-military U.S. Navy contractor aircraft carrying three, according to Naval Base Ventura County spokesperson Drew Verbis.
San Clemente Island is about 65 miles from San Diego.
"Suspending search efforts is one of the hardest decisions to be made, but after aggressively searching the area around San Clemente Island for more than 24 hours using land, air, and surface assets with negative results, the decision was made to suspend the active search until further information or developments occur," said Capt. Jim Spitler, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego, in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing passengers."
The identities of the three people onboard was not released.
The aircraft, a Phoenix Air Learjet, was contracted by the U.S. Navy and had taken off from Point Mugu Naval Air Station.
The Coast Guard said another Phoenix Learjet was in the area and found the downed aircraft and debris field.
The initial report of problems on the plane came at 7:53 a.m. local time Wednesday when an emergency was reported onboard the jet.
The Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility San Diego reported the jet didn't make it back to the San Clemente Island runway.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that it is investigating. So far, no cause for the crash has been determined.
The search area was 334 square miles and was covered by the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.