3 die in plane crash after leaving the Bahamas

Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 12:22 a.m.

NASSAU, Bahamas — Three people died when a small plane crashed into the sea after taking off from the Bahamas en route to Florida, authorities in the country said Monday.

The Bahamas Civil Aviation Department said the Piper Cherokee Six aircraft crashed Sunday afternoon about two miles off Bimini. The department says the single-engine, fixed-wing plane was carrying a pilot and two passengers.

Pat Walmer, a spokesman for the family of one of the victims, identified the three men as David Howell, Andrew Peterson and J.P. Antonmattei. Walmer said he gave Howell his first flight lesson.

Walmer said two other people, a married couple, had traveled to the Bahamas with the three who died, but the couple did not join them for the return trip.

The plane took off from New Providence island and was heading to Executive Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration initially said four people were aboard the plane.

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