Authorities believe they have found debris from a Florida-bound private plane that vanished in the Bermuda Triangle, but have not given up searching for the four people on board, including a prominent New York businesswoman and her two children.
Material recovered from the sea east of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera was determined to have come from a twin-engine MU-2B aircraft, the type that air traffic control lost contact with as it traveled from Puerto Rico to Titusville on Monday, said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Kelly, a Coast Guard spokesman.
"The debris does match up with that style of aircraft and we have notified the family," Kelly said.
A search for the people on board was ongoing and expected to continue, he said, noting that water temperature, weather and ocean conditions were "favorable for survivability."
"We're optimistic. And we'll remain optimistic throughout the search," Kelly said.
The people on board the plane were identified as Nathan Ulrich, 52, of Lee, New Hampshire, and Jennifer Blumin of New York, 40, along with her 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons.
Blumin is the founder and CEO of Skylight Group, a New York-based event space company specializing in the fashion industry. Skylight confirmed Blumin and members of her family were on the plane in a statement.
"Her family is working with investigators and we politely ask that you respect their privacy at this time," the company said.
Ulrich was listed as the pilot but it was not known who was flying it at the time, Kelley said.
Karl Ulrich, Nathan's brother, said in a statement Tuesday evening that the family was "devastated and shocked" by news of the missing plane.
"Nathan is our beloved son, brother and uncle and we wish for resolution as the Coast Guard search continues," the Ulrich family statement said. "Our prayers and thoughts are with the Blumin family and James Ramsey in this difficult time."
Ulrich served as a Coast Guard Auxiliary pilot out of Air Station Cape Cod from 2005 to 2014. According to neighbors in Lee, Ulrich co-owned Xootr, a company that manufactures kick scooters and folding bicycles.
Their plane was at about 24,000 feet when air traffic control lost contact. Officials said it's unknown why the plane never made it to its destination.
"There's no indication of significant adverse weather at the time," Kelly said.
Asked during a press conference Tuesday whether the plane's disappearance in the fabled Bermuda Triangle confounds the rescue mission, Kelley said the Coast Guard doesn't take "folklore or myth into consideration when we're conducting a search and rescue mission."
The Coast Guard said it had covered more than 5,260 square miles in a search that was centered about 15 miles east of Eleuthera.
According to New York State and aviation records, the plane was registered to Ithaca Consulting, the same Southold, New York, address for Blumin and Manhattan architect James Ramsey.
The couple's renovated Tribeca loft was featured on an episode of "Open House NYC" in 2015. It was not immediately clear if the two were still married.