Crews are searching for a single-engine plane that was seen plunging into the ocean off the coast of Isla Vista early Sunday morning, officials said.
A witness reported seeing a small aircraft descend at a rapid rate and “impact the ocean” about 2.5 miles away from Santa Barbara Airport around 7 a.m., Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Mike Eliason said.
It’s unclear how many people were aboard the aircraft, believed to be a Cessna 182 Skylane.
Rescue teams deployed quickly, with U.S. Coast Guard vessels and rescue helicopters converging on the scene.
About an hour and a half later, crews found debris consistent with the missing aircraft about 2 miles off the coast of Isla Vista, an area with water depths of around 200 feet, Eliason said.
Authorities around 10:30 a.m. said efforts are now focused on a recovery operation and they’ve requested a dive team with radar equipment from Los Angeles County.