The search is underway after the crash of a small plane off the coast of North Carolina

CARTERET COUNTY, NC (WITN) – A search is underway for a downed plane as authorities confirm it disappeared from radar screen Sunday afternoon off the coast of North Carolina.

The Coast Guard said the accident happened about four miles east of Drum Inlet, 18 miles northeast of Michael J. Smith Field in Beaufort.

Officials said observers at the North Carolina Coast Guard Sector Command Center received a report of a possible downed plane from an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

The report says the plane was seen behaving erratically on radar before disappearing from the radar screen.

The crews are now searching for the aircraft.

The crew of Coast Guard Station Fort Macon Motor Lifeboat and a crew of Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet Response Boat – Small Boat watch from the water.

From above, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Elizabeth City Air Station is also looking.

Additionally, Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch, the local fire department, and National Park Service beach crews are aiding in response efforts.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane involved is a small private plane PC-12/27.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

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Brandon D. James