OCEAN CITY – One body was discovered Thursday night after a reported plane crash off the resort coast this week before the weather led to the search being postponed.
According to the Maryland State Police (MSP), shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday, federal officials notified the MSP Special Operations Division that an aircraft believed to be a single-engine, four-passenger plane left Martin State Airport in Baltimore County on Wednesday night en route to Ocean City and had not yet returned.
When it was determined the plane did not return as planned to the Martin State Airport and was not located at the Ocean City Municipal Airport, a search of the area near the Ocean City airport was initiated on Thursday morning.
The crew of the MSP Aviation Command Trooper 4 and Civil Air Patrol personnel located what is described as an oil slick in the ocean about 1.5 miles from the Ocean City Airport. According to sources, an airplane tire was found floating in the oil slick.
According to the MSP release, rescue personnel continue to focus their search on the area late Thursday afternoon. Throughout the afternoon on Thursday, sources have confirmed debris consistent with an airplane have been recovered in a vast area off the coast, including some as far as five miles out. In addition, a Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) dive team was searching for possible victims in the area where the oil slick was discovered.
By Thursday night, MSP reported a body had been recovered during the search efforts.
“A body was recovered from among the pieces of the plane. The body recovered was a male wearing the same clothing as described on the pilot who left Martin State Airport yesterday. The body will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsy,” the MSP release stated.
As of 6 p.m. last night, the search effort had been suspended due to deteriorating conditions from a major coastal storm. MSP will resume search efforts once conditions improve.
The US Coast Guard has identified the two plane occupants as Banica Richard Robinson and Marcson Ngwa.