Venice plane crash victims were family from St. Petersburg

Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorp speaks at a news conference Monday.
Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorp speaks at a news conference Monday.(WWSB-TV)
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:52 AM EST
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UPDATED at 11:45 a.m. with details from news conference.

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The victims of a Saturday night plane crash in the Gulf near Venice were a family flying from St. Petersburg for dinner, official said Monday.

Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorp said Monday three people were aboard the rented Piper Warrior when it left Venice Municipal Airport at about 7:30 p.m.; a 42-year-old man believed to be the pilot, his 43-year-old wife and their 12-year-old daughter. The family was not identified.

At a news conference at the airport Monday morning, Thorp said the search began when the Federal Aviation Administration contacted Venice Police Saturday to report that the plane never made it to it’s final destination.

Around the same time, recreational divers reported finding the body of a woman in the Gulf about 2-and-a-half miles offshore.

A Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office helicopter eventually located the plane, in 15 feet of water, a third of a mile directly west of the airport.

The body of the 12-year-old girl was found inside the aircraft, Thorp said.

The man has not yet been found, Thorp said. The search area has expanded to at least 5 square miles. The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the crash.

Information from the FlightAware website indicate the plane left Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg at 4:42 p.m. and arrived at Venice Municipal at 5:16 p.m. The plane took off again at 7:36 p.m.

According to FAA records, the aircraft is registered to St. Pete Aviation Services at Albert Whitted Airport.