VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — The search for a pilot who went missing after crashing into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday has been discontinued, according to the Venice Police Department.
After consulting with the U.S. Coast Guard, Venice police said they called off the search for 42-year-old Christian Kath on Wednesday. The bodies of his wife, 43-year-old Misty Kath, and their 12-year-old daughter, Lily, were found by divers on Sunday.
The search was discontinued after parameters for the search grew too large over time – exceeding 2,000 nautical miles.
Officials reminded boaters that they could encounter aircraft debris or the remains of the pilot anywhere from Sarasota Bay to Gasparilla. They are asked to contact the Coast Guard using marine radio on channel 16 if they see anything.
It could take more than a year for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to reveal why the rented Piper Cherokee aircraft crashed shortly after take-off.
News Channel 8 obtained data from Flight Aware showing that Kath’s rental plane only reached an altitude of 135 feet before disappearing from the radar at around 7:30 p.m. Officials said the aircraft did not signal a mayday.
The NTSB is transporting the plane’s wreckage to Jacksonville as part of its investigation. Authorities said the aircraft was submerged about 15 feet underwater.
Records show Kath has been a licensed pilot for just over a year.