MARINELAND, Fla. - A small plane crashed late Thursday in the town of Marineland at the Flagler-St. Johns county line, killing everyone on board, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said.
The plane's wreckage was found shortly after noon, deputies said. Investigators said there are no survivors.
"(Witnesses) heard a plane sputtering and then it spiraled down," Staly said. "The problem is that the tide is out, so (the water) is very difficult to get into, which is why we are having to use airboats."
The thick marsh made it a challenge for the multiple agencies and personnel to locate the plane.
Aviation officials said the plane departed from Brunswick, Georgia, and was heading to Ormond Beach.
The plane was returning to an aviation school when it crashed.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it believes two people were aboard the plane. Crews were searching Pellicer Creek Aquatic Reserve for the bodies.
“The FAA told us there were two occupants. We did receive information early on that there was a possible third,” said Staly.
Watch deputies provide an update on the search below:
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns County Fire Rescue, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assisted with the search effort.
“It is sad that our efforts did not lead to the rescue of the occupants of the aircraft,” said Staly. “There was great cooperation with our local, state and federal partners.
The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
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