THE family of Hunter Parks confirmed that he was one of the passengers aboard the flight that crashed off the coast of North Carolina Sunday.
Parks and his girlfriend, Stephanie Fulcher, were believed to be returning from a duck hunting trip when the plane they were on crashed, said friend Tom Harrison.
“We can confirm that Hunter Parks was among the passengers of the flight that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday afternoon,” read a statement from Parks’ family.
“We are grateful for the many men and women – authorities and volunteers – who remain active in the recovery operation and investigation.
“We sincerely appreciate the outpouring of love, prayers and concern expressed over the incident. We have no further comment at this time and ask that the privacy of all parties involved is respected. Thank you.”
WITN reported that Parks and his girlfriend were believed to be among the missing.
“He was one of the most generous people I know and he had a dunk hunting property and he had invited a large number of youth veterans,” said Harrison.
“There’s a special duck season, a 1-day duck season for youth and veterans and he had invited them all to his property to duck hunt.
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“And they had hunted there Saturday and were still in Hyde County at lunchtime yesterday and flew home yesterday when the accident happened,”
Harrison also said that there were four boys from the Carteret County area that were on the flight as well.
Stephanie Fulcher had shared photos on Facebook earlier on Monday including from inside the aircraft.
The images show the boys in camouflage inside the plane and also posing with a dead fowl during their outing.
One person has been found dead in the recovery efforts, leaving seven passengers still missing, including four kids.
In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck along with the US Coast Guard shared details about the investigation.
According to Buck, one body had been recovered but the search for the other seven is continuing. “We have no indication that anyone survived the crash.”
PLANE 'BEHAVING ERRATICALLY'
According to officials, Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center watchstanders got a report of a possible downed aircraft from an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point around 2 pm on Sunday.
The report noted the aircraft was "behaving erratically" on radar before disappearing from the radar screen.
Officials confirmed on Monday that eight people were on board the plane at the time.
Their identities have not been confirmed.
Just after 11am, officials said the debris field where the plane was believed to have crashed was found. Efforts turned to that area in the search for survivors.
Four of the passengers were reportedly students at East Carteret High School.
The Carteret County Public Schools system released a statement to the outlet, saying: “We are incredibly saddened as we join with the Down East and Eastern North Carolina communities as we await official word on the airplane crash off the coast of Drum Inlet.”
Coast Guard officials say they have two boat crews searching and aircrew from Elizabeth City.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the missing aircraft is a single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
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