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Coast Guard suspends search for 3 people after aircraft crashed off California

Coast Guard officials said the Phoenix Learjet was a civilian aircraft contracted by the Navy and had taken off from Point Mugu Wednesday morning.
A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew has launched for search and rescue efforts for the report of a downed aircraft with 3 persons on board 1 mile SW of San Clemente Island.
A Coast Guard Air Station San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was used for search and rescue efforts Wednesday following reports of a downed aircraft with three people on board near San Clemente Island.U.S. Coast Guard

Officials suspended an over 24-hour search Thursday for three people in an aircraft that crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coast.

Nobody was recovered in the search, and the people on board have not been identified.

The initial report of a downed Phoenix Learjet came in just before 8 a.m. local time Wednesday from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility on San Clemente Island, the Coast Guard said in a statement. The island is owned by the U.S. Navy and is located about 80 miles west of San Diego.

The facility reported “an aircraft emergency” aboard the plane, noting that the aircraft didn’t make it back to the runway. 

A U.S. Navy Phoenix Learjet was in the area and immediately began searching for the debris field.

The debris field was located one mile southwest of the island, and search efforts were underway Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard of Southern California tweeted.

Levi Reed, a spokesperson with the U.S. Coast Guard, said the search was suspended around 9 a.m. Thursday. The search covered 334 square miles and involved multiple agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Navy, the Air Force and Customs and Border Protection.

The jet was a civilian aircraft that was contracted by the Navy with civilian personnel aboard, Reed said. 

It took off from Point Mugu, part of the naval base in Ventura County, but it’s not clear where it was going, he said.  

The cause of the crash is unclear. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating.