Search ends for missing pilot whose last flight was from Marathon

The Civil Air Patrol has called off its portion of a search for a pilot who’s been missing since taking off from Florida Keys Marathon Airport on Feb. 7.

Andrei Postelnicu was at the helm of a single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee when it left the Middle Keys airfield headed to Vero Beach Municipal Airport. The last contact he had with anyone was with the air control towers in West Palm Beach and Stuart around 8 p.m. Feb. 7.

Since then, small parts of the rented plane and some of Postelnicu’s personal items were found, but not the pilot, a financial researcher and writer for Moody’s Investor Service.

Christine Weiss, spokeswoman for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday “we have located a total of three small pieces of an aircraft, one of which specifically ties it by model number to a Piper aircraft.”

Wednesday, the Civil Air Patrol said “over the course of this five-day operation, 25 volunteer professionals of the Civil Air Patrol have contributed nearly 1,000 man-hours, utilized five aircraft for a total of seven air sorties and performed numerous ground searches of local beaches.

“Through radar analysis, flight data and other investigative methods, the crash location has been narrowed down to within a very small area. Further attempts to locate the exact site will be made by other agencies equipped with marine capabilities.”

Those agencies include the U.S. Coast Guard.

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