Bahamian investigators search for jet wreckage

AP News
Posted: Dec 19, 2009 3:47 PM

Bahamian investigators are searching for more wreckage of a small plane that crashed on the southernmost island of the archipelago.

Two U.S. pilots were the only people aboard the small jet when it crashed Thursday night in an unpopulated area of Great Inagua shortly after taking off from the Dominican Republic en route to Miami, police inspector Dennis Brown said Saturday.

The pilots are presumed dead but their bodies have not been found.

Authorities in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic have declined to disclose the pilots' identities or their hometowns.

Small bits of debris from the Jet Falcon N-28 RK were found scattered about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the remote Bahamian island's only settlement, Matthew Town. Investigators plan to examine a sprawling area of dense vegetation on Sunday, Brown said.

There was no communication from the small jet before it went down, according to Bahamian Civil Aviation Director Capt. Patrick Rolle. Witnesses said the plane exploded in the air.

"It still had a lot of fuel on it, so the fuel ignited and that caused a pretty big fire around the airplane," Rolle said of the witness accounts.

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Dominican Civil Aviation spokesman Pedro Jimenez said the Jet Falcon was owned by the San Francisco, California-based Wells Fargo company.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Susan Stanley said Friday that the plane was owned by a trust for which the bank acts as trustee. She did not immediately respond to an e-mail Saturday seeking more details.