Body found in search for missing plane in Brevard County

Twin-engine Cessna last seen on radar near Space Coast Regional Airport

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - A body was found in the Indian River on Thursday as searchers were looking for a missing airplane that disappeared a day earlier.

It's not been confirmed if the body is that of the pilot.

Multiple agencies in Brevard County searched for the plane over the last two days after it vanished as stormy weather moved through the region.

Fire officials said the twin-engine Cessna was last seen on the radar at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, northeast of the Space Coast Regional Airport.

The plane is owned by Gibbs Rentals, Inc., of Wilmington, Delaware.

Brevard County Fire Rescue said the flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport and attempted --but aborted -- to land at Space Coast Regional Airport before losing contact.

A resident in the area told Local 6 News that he heard an engine straining. That's when he believes the plane may have crashed into the river.

"The plane had apparently attempted to land at the airport during what was apparently a pretty bad storm at that time," a BCFR official said.

A local pilot, Roger Molitor, said he was listening on a radio when the airport lost contact.

"I was monitoring and I heard that they lost contact with him," he said. "When that storm came through at about 4:30 this afternoon, the winds were strong -- I'm guessing 50 or 60 knots. It would have been a tough job maintaining control of an airplane if that's what happened."

Wednesday night, BCFR said debris was located in the Indian River, including an engine, nose cone and seat cushions, but no confirmation was made that it belonged to the missing aircraft.

It's not clear how many people were on the plane at the time of the report, but Fire Rescue said the flight plan indicates no passengers were on the plane.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office is currently the lead investigative agency in the search in the Indian River. Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are also investigating.

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