Venice plane crash: Search for missing pilot discontinued, officials say

After searching for a few days and more than 2,000 square nautical miles, officials in Venice decided Wednesday to end their search for a missing father following a small plane crash in the Gulf.

While search crews say they were unable to find 42-year-old Christian Kath, they are warning boaters from Sarasota Bay south to Gasparilla that they may see remains or small aircraft debris in the water.

"Boaters who observe anything should immediately contact the Coast Guard using marine radio on channel 16," according to Venice police.

Tuesday, police identified the victims as Christian, his wife, 43-year-old Misty Kath, and their daughter,12-year-old Lily, were identified as the victims. They were living in St. Petersburg and previously resided in Australia.

The view from SkyFOX shows the plane wreckage beneath the surface.

The view from SkyFOX shows the plane wreckage beneath the surface.

On Monday, Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe said the family flew from St. Petersburg to Venice for dinner and were supposed to fly back.

PREVIOUS: Venice police identify St. Petersburg family killed in plane crash

The search efforts began Sunday morning after the FAA reached out to Venice police, reporting that a rented single-engine plane took off from the Venice Municipal Airport around 7:30 p.m. Saturday – but never returned to its originating airport in St. Petersburg. Misty and Lily's remains were located earlier this week.

The wreckage of the small plane was lifted out of the water and sent to a secure location in Jacksonville. 

Damaged plane removed from Gulf after crash off Venice, Fla.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and it will likely be a few days before officials can provide answers.

Investigations involving fatalities, and other major investigations currently take between 12 and 24 months to complete.

Several agencies including the Venice police, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, the FAA, and NTSB have been involved in the search.