BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — The body of a 24-year-old man has been found inside a small plane that crashed Sunday night near the Boynton Beach Inlet, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Divers with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office located the man's body inside the submerged aircraft, the Coast Guard said Monday afternoon.
The pilot has been identified as Abhishek Patter.
His family issued the following statement:
He was a computer engineer who quit that to peruse his dream to be a pilot, and spent his last moments in the Cockpit doing what he always wanted to do 'Fly'. His dad was also a pilot in the Indian Navy currently flying commercial after his retirement from the Navy. Abhishek Patter, the deceased pilot was training with a local flight school in Merrit Island to become a commercial pilot. He was on a routine solo night flight training mission when the accident occurred.
We are currently working with the local authorities to repatriate his mortal remains back to India to be cremated there.
Exclusive video from Chopper 5 on Monday morning showed the outline of the plane under the water about a mile offshore, with an orange buoy tied to the wreckage.
WATCH CHOPPER 5 VIDEO:
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Piper PA-28 Cherokee was flying from Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana to Merritt Island Airport when it was reported to have crashed about 8 p.m. Sunday.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the aircraft was located "pretty much intact" Monday morning in about 40 feet of water.
Authorities spent hours searching for Patter, who was piloting the plane.
The 24-year-old pilot's body was eventually found inside the plane about 11 a.m.
"I came down here to do some fishing and found out about the tragedy here," Louis Lobello said.
Lobello watched the search efforts Monday morning and said the Boynton Beach Inlet can be dangerous.
"The wind is blowing in and the tide is going out, so it makes it a little dangerous," Lobello said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.