Panama finds bodies of 2 Americans a month after plane crash

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Authorities in Panama announced Tuesday they have found the bodies of two Americans who went missing when the small plane they were traveling in splashed into the Pacific and sank Jan. 3.

Three others aboard the private flight were rescued. Two of them were also U.S. citizens. The third was the plane’s pilot, a Canadian.

Panama’s Civil Aviation Authority said the bodies of the two U.S. citizens, aged 57 and 70, had been found and would be recovered. It did not release their identities.

The crash occurred off Panama’s Punta Chame, south of Panama City.

The single-engine, five-seat Piper Cherokee Six plane was heading to Chame from Contadora island, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) away.

Gustavo Pérez Morales, director of the Civil Aviation Authority, said earlier that the pilot had radioed to say he was having engine problems and would have to splash down in the sea.

He said the pilot later told authorities the aircraft sank so quickly they were not able to grab a life raft or life jackets.