Pilot’s body recovered after small plane crashes off Florida coast

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Divers have recovered the body of a man who was piloting a small plane when it crashed Sunday off the coast of Boynton Beach.

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Officials with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said they found the Piper 28 aircraft offshore in about 40 feet of water early Monday morning. Divers later went into the water and were able to recover the body of a 24-year-old man still in the aircraft, according to officials with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The pilot’s name was not immediately released. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said he was the only person on board the plane when it crashed.

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The incident happened Sunday night, shortly after the plane took off from Palm Beach County Park Airport, WPBF reported. The plane had been headed for Merritt Airport about 140 miles north, according to WTVJ.

Witness Jonathan Whitmore told WPBF he saw the plane when it crashed while flying in an eastern direction, toward the ocean.

“When we looked up, we thought it was a drone or something and all of a sudden, we heard a loud boom and we saw the plane nose dive into the water,” Whitmore told the news station.

“Right now, after everything is sitting in turmoil and everything, I’m more worried about the family and who lost a loved one. Quite frankly I want to call my parents right now and just say I love you quite frankly. That’s all I’m thinking about right now.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into Sunday’s crash, according to WTVJ.