Authorities determine body belongs to missing seaplane victim
MIAMI – The last missing victim of a fatal seaplane crash was found Friday floating in the Atlantic Ocean nine miles from where the plane went down south of Miami Beach, authorities said.A boater found the man’s body about three miles off Key Biscayne, the Coast Guard said. Authorities have not released the name of the victim.Miami Beach police have said Sergio Danguillecourt, 42, a member of the board of directors of Miami-based distiller Bacardi Ltd., was the only passenger unaccounted for before the body was found.The great-great grandson of Bacardi’s founder had been headed for Bimini with his wife when the Chalk’s Ocean Airways seaplane crashed Monday afternoon. All 20 passengers and crew aboard were killed.Also on Friday, divers wrapped up their search for small, remaining airplane pieces on the ocean floor, said National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Paul Schlamm.”They got almost 100 percent of what they were looking for,” he said.Most of the aircraft was recovered Wednesday in about 35 feet of water and was already being examined by NTSB experts.The Federal Aviation Administration said it was considering mandatory wing inspections of all seaplanes like the one that crashed.Although the precise cause of the crash has not been determined, the FAA said a preliminary investigation revealed stress fractures in the 58-year-old Grumman G-73 Turbine Mallard seaplane’s right wing support that could have played a key role.The agency said if it determines from the investigation that the potential for such stress fractures is inherent in other G-73 planes, it may require the inspections.There are about 25 other Grumman G-73 seaplanes in operation, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said. Chalk’s, which already had voluntarily grounded its four other G-73s, was the only commercial operator of the 1940s-era aircraft. The airline had refurbished its fleet in the 1980s – including installation of more powerful engines – to carry a greater number of passengers.A final determination of the crash’s cause is not expected for months.
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