A North Carolina community is shocked after a plane carrying eight people crashed off the coast of North Carolina.
Jacob Nolan Taylor (16), Michael Daily Shepard (15), Noah Lee Styron (15) and Jonathan Kole McInnis (15) were the victims of the crash. The pilot and his son were also among the eight people killed.
Jay Westbrook, the principal of West Carteret High School, stated in a Wednesday statement that he thought it was amazing to have sister high schools support us during this time.
He said, "We are glad there are many Mariners in our community, the region and the state today."
According to the Carteret County Sheriff's Office, the group was returning from a hunting trip in rural Hyde County. Their plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The other victims were pilot Ernest Rawls (67); his son Jeffrey Rawls (28); Stephanie McInnis Fulcher (42); and Douglas Parks (45).
Greg Murphy, a Republican North Carolina Representative, attended an earlier this week vigil in support of the victims.
"Tonight, hundreds of friends, neighbours, and possibly even strangers, gathered together to perform a beautiful vigil on a cold, moonlit night. We gathered to remember the victims' lives. We prayed for peace. We prayed for understanding. We prayed together. The devastation this small, close-knit community feels is beyond words," the congressman wrote in a Monday Facebook posting. "Yet, their faith is testament of their strong belief in God. Faith is put to the test in difficult times like these.
He said, "It was beautiful to see how, in the midst such a disaster, how community came together and showed each other how much love and care." We all need reminders every day of how precious life truly is, and that each day is both a gift or a blessing. Please pray for these people, their neighbors and their friends in this very difficult time.
In a Wednesday tweet, the East Carteret High School basketball teams offered prayers to students, faculty, school community, and the families of the four boys.
"No one can expect to go to school Monday without four of their classmates," the team tweeted. The team tweeted "We will get through it together", along with a photo showing the boys hunting.
FOX 8 Greensboro reports that the Reimage Church in Winterville issued a statement for the Rawls family, confirming their death.
The church stated that it was with heavy hearts that the family of Ernest 'Teen" Rawls and Jeffrey Rawls had been aboard the plane that crashed Sunday afternoon, February 13. We don't grieve like those without hope. But our trust and hope remain in God and we look to Him while we mourn the loss of the Rawls and other families.
The family thanked the U.S. Coast Guard and Carteret Sheriff's Office for their assistance in the search operation. They extended their condolences and prayers to all families affected by the tragedy.
According to an email sent by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the plane, a single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47, crashed into the Atlantic 18 miles northeast from Michael J. Smith Field, Beaufort, North Carolina. It was there around 2 p.m. on Sunday. The FAA website had a preliminary accident notification that stated that the plane "crushed into water under unknown circumstances."
Although the victims are not yet officially identified by medical examiners the Carteret County Sheriff's Office has suspended its search Wednesday for passengers after recovering the remains of the victims and parts of the plane on Wednesday.
After authorities found the first body, Asa Buck from Carteret County stated that there was no evidence that anyone survived.
Officials in Carteret County said that they examined the remains of the passengers and then took them to East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine.
The sheriff's office stated that they asked the community to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers.
The Core Sound Museum established a fund for victims' families to raise funds.