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Woman, child aboard small plane that crashed off Venice Beach found dead, police say

The search for a man who was also on the plane is still underway.

VENICE, Fla. — Police said a woman and child who were aboard a small plane that crashed Saturday night into the Gulf of Mexico shortly after taking off from the Venice Municipal Airport have died and their bodies were recovered from the water.

The search for a man who was also reportedly on board the plane is still ongoing. 

The child's body was located Sunday afternoon by divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. Venice police confirmed the child had been a passenger on the plane when it crashed.

The plane, a Piper Cherokee, was found shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday by air assets about one-third of a mile west offshore and directly west of the Venice airport. 

At around 10 a.m. Sunday, the city of Venice says that boaters found a woman's body floating in the Gulf about two and a half miles west of Venice Beach. She has been confirmed as someone who was also in the plane when it crashed, officials say.  

Authorities say they believe a man — either the pilot or a passenger — was also in the plane during the crash, but his body has not yet been found with the wreckage of the plane. 

The FAA said the single-engine plane took off around 7:30 p.m. Saturday from the Venice airport and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico shortly after take off. 

The FAA said its agency and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the crash. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Coast Guard, Sarasota Police Department, FWC and the District 12 Medical Examiner's Office are assisting with the search and crash scene. 

The City of Venice said the search efforts continued until sunset on Sunday and will resume Monday morning as conditions allow.

Editor's note: The FAA originally stated the crash happened around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The agency has since sent a corrected time. 

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