New York

Coast Guard Suspends Search for NYC Designer, Young Sons on Vanished Plane

A debris field was discovered Tuesday, and investigators say the plane components matched the same model of the aircraft that vanished in the Bahamas

What to Know

  • A Coast Guard statement says air traffic control in Miami lost radar and radio contact with the twin-engine plane east of Eleuthera
  • The plane was en route from Puerto Rico to the small city of Titusville on the east coast of Florida when authorities lost contact Monday
  • The people on board the plane were identified as Jennifer Blumin and her young sons, all from NY, and Nathan Ulrich of New Hampshire

The exhaustive oceanic search for a well-known New York City designer, her young sons and a pilot friend was suspended Thursday night, about three and a half days after their plane vanished in the Bahamas, Coast Guard officials said. 

Search-and-rescue crews had scoured more than 11,140 square miles over their 75-hour mission to find 40-year-old Jennifer Blumin, her 3- and 4-year-old sons and 52-year-old Nathan Ulrich of New Hampshire. The search was halted at 8:45 p.m. Thursday, the Coast Guard said. 

"This was a swift and significant loss and its impact has reverberated through everyone that participated in the search," said Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator. "Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved."

Aircraft debris matching a twin-engine MU-2B, the same kind of plane Blumin, her boys and Ulrich were on when it disappeared, was discovered Tuesday afternoon in the search area 15 miles east of Eleuthera. Though officials did not positively determine the plane was Blumin's, family and friends of the entrepreneur feared the worst -- and the Coast Guard's decision to suspend the search made the nightmare a reality.

Architect James Ramsey, longtime friend of Blumin and father of her two children, spoke for the first time Wednesdaytelling the Daily News he had lost what he loved most. 

"I keep hoping it’s not real and I’ll wake up," Ramsey told the paper. "Wouldn’t wish this pain on the worst person in the world."

Officials say Blumin's plane was east of Eleuthera when air traffic control in Miami lost radar and radio contact. It was en route from Puerto Rico and never made it to its destination of Titusville, on the northeastern coast of Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board is assisting in the investigation.

Blumin was founder and CEO of Skylight Group, which provides event space around the city, specializing in the fashion industry. The company released a statement Tuesday confirming she was on plane and asked for privacy.

The plane was at about 24,000 feet when air traffic control lost contact, but authorities said adverse weather was not considered a factor.

Ulrich was listed as the pilot but it was not known who was flying it at the time, the spokesman said. Blumin owned the plane through a consulting company, according to New York State and aviation records.

Blumin's Twitter bio bills her as a "seeker of forgotten architecture hidden in urban grit. Believer that history should inspire the future." The description ends simply: #Entrepreneur.

The Cornell grad founded Skylight Group in 2004; the firm specializes in re-imagining historical spaces and developing them for high-end use, whether for the biggest icons in fashion or some other client. The firm's website pledges "access to the previously inaccessibly by creating and operating venues in unprecedented locations," and media praise suggests weight to the claim.

One 2014 New York Times article says, "If you have attended runway shows for Ralph Lauren, Prabal Gurung or Edun, or been to parties for the Whitney Museum of American Art or Google product debuts, you’ve been to an event held with the Skylight Group."

Skylight's New York portfolio includes One Hanson and Moynihan Station.

Ulrich is from Lee, New Hampshire, and is the ex-husband of Canadian-American actress Rae Dawn Chong, daughter of comedian and actor Tommy Chong. Ulrich's brother, Karl, released a statement earlier this week saying the family was "devastated and shocked" to learn of the missing plane.

"Nathan is our beloved son, brother and uncle and we wish for resolution as the Coast Guard search continues," the statement said. "Our prayers and thoughts are with the Blumin family and James Ramsey in this difficult time." 

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