By BNO News

A small plane carrying seven people has crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and federal officials. It was seen “behaving erratically” just before the crash.

The accident happened at around 2 p.m. on Sunday when the aircraft, a single-engine Pilatus PC-12/47, went into the ocean about 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) east of Drum Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Seven people, including 4 teenagers, are believed to have been on board the plane, according to officials in Carteret County. Their identities were not immediately released.

“The aircraft was seen behaving erratically on radar and then disappeared from the radar screen,” the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement, citing an account from an air traffic controller who reported the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notice to inform public safety agencies about the missing plane, but search operations were continuing on Sunday night.

The Coast Guard said it launched multiple boats and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to search the area. Local fire departments and beach crews from the National Park Service are also assisting.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have launched an investigation.