American dad, two daughters among those killed in plane crash in Caribbean, authorities say

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(NEW YORK) — An American man and his two daughters were among four people killed Thursday when a small plane crashed shortly after takeoff from a Caribbean island, authorities said.

The deadly crash happened in the waters off Bequia, a small island that’s part of the southern Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Authorities said the single-engine aircraft took off from J.F. Mitchell Airport shortly after 12 p.m. local time and was headed to nearby St. Lucia when tragedy stuck.

“Moments after taking off, the aircraft experienced difficulties and plummeted into the ocean,” the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said in a statement.

Four people were on board the aircraft, including the pilot. The passengers were identified by police as 51-year-old U.S. citizen Christian Klepser and his two daughters, 10-year-old Madita and 12-year-old Annik Klepser.

The pilot was identified as Robert Sachs, who police said also owned the plane.

“Fishermen and divers from Paget Farm went to the scene of the incident in their boats to render assistance,” the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said in the statement.

The country’s Coast Guard also responded and after searching the area near where the aircraft went down, the bodies of all four victims were recovered, according to police.

Police noted that upcoming autopsies will determine the cause of death of each victim.

It was unclear what caused the plane to crash as the incident remains under investigation, police said.

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