GENERIC - plane crash

(file photo | Associated Press)

CHARLESTON, SC (FOX Carolina) - The U.S. Coast Guard announce Sunday morning that they had suspended their search for a private aircraft that went missing off of the South Carolina coast Thursday.

"It is with a heavy heart that we suspend our search for the missing aircraft and its five passengers," said Captain John Reed, Commander, Sector Charleston.

The USCG said it searched approximately 3,516 square miles for 76 hours. 

Captain Reed says he has spoken to the family of those on the plane. 

"I extend my deepest sympathies to them and all those who have been hit by this tragic loss at sea," said Reed. 

The FAA confirmed the Piper PA-31 aircraft went missing around 11:33 a.m. 110 miles south-southeast of Charleston.

The plane departed from Robert F. Swinnie Airport in Andrews and was en route to the Bahamas.

Both U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy were searching the area.

The Coast Guard said the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center received a report from the aircraft of an in-flight emergency, lost contact on radar and notified the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. 

Aircraft registration or ownership could not be confirmed by the FAA as of writing; officials say they can only confirm once they find the plane.

Stay with FOX Carolina for more on this developing story.

Copyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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