BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The and National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed the body pulled from the Indian River Thursday is that of a pilot who crashed his small lane just outside the Space Coast Regional Airport.
Officials have not released the pilot’s name.
Controllers at Space Coast Regional Airport in Brevard County lost contact with the small plane at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Brevard County Sheriff's Office teams, the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife searched for hours in and near the Indian River.
"We know the plane was flying at about 300 feet, had radioed in and then they lost contact," said Brevard County spokesman Don Walker on Wednesday.
Strong storms may have been a factor in the incident.
NTSB investigators said they have not been able to get the most crucial pieces of the plane out of the water and that it is too early to pinpoint exactly why it went down.
“We do have several small pieces that we have recovered,” said NTSB investigator David Boggs.
He said the pilot tried to land once, missed the approach and was circling back to try to land again when he lost contact with the tower and crashed while attempting to land at Space Coast Regional Airport.
The last known location of the plane was about one mile east of the TICO Airport in the Indian River and approximately 400 yards off the shoreline.
The flight manifest had the plane originating from Orlando Executive Airport with only the pilot on board the twin-engine Cessna.
"I quickly looked to see if I would happen to know who was flying the plane," witness Roger Molitor said.
Just before controllers lost contact with the plane, a bad thunderstorm pounded the area around the airport.
Molitor is also a pilot.
"It takes a good pilot to fly through something like this," Molitor said. "Very few people can survive a storm like the one that went through."
Crews plan to start trying to pull the plane out of the water at 8 a.m. Friday. They expect to be at the scene for the next two or three days