Reports indicate that a plane carrying four people vanished into thin air Monday afternoon. The occupants included Jennifer Blumin, a well-known New York City designer; her two sons; and Nathan Ulrich, Blumin’s partner. Ulrich was listed as the pilot.
The plane, a smaller MU-2B model, was allegedly carrying its passengers from Puerto Rico to an airport in Titusville, FL (a relatively small town some three hours away from Miami), when Miami’s air traffic control team lost contact with the pilot. According to officials, the plane disappeared from the Miami-based radar system around 2:10 p.m. while it was flying near the Bahamian coast.
Nathan Ulrich’s former wife, actress Rae Dawn Chong, says she’s certain the situation had nothing to do with Ulrich’s flying skills, touting him as an “excellent pilot.”
“He’s an excellent pilot. You couldn’t get a better pilot.”
She indicates that if something did indeed happen, the mishap was almost certainly a result of an equipment malfunction on the plane.
“I’ve flown many hundreds of miles with him. It had to be a plane issue.”
The twin engine plane is of Japanese origin and is produced by Mitsubishi, one of the nation’s largest vehicle manufacturing companies. At less than $1 million USD, the relative affordability of the aircraft means some of its operators may lack the training and experience required to handle a machine with its kind of ability, according to sources. Apparently, there have been upwards of 337 fatalities associated with the MU-2 line of aircrafts, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a thorough safety evaluation of several models back in 2005. Results from their evaluation indicated that the MU-2B model, along with its peers in the MU-2 class, did indeed meet all safety requirements, and that the plane was as safe as it could be when handled by properly trained pilots.
Chong says she is “in shock” over the whole situation, and indicates that the “whole thing is horrible.”
Reports claim that Ulrich’s parents only found out about the plane’s disappearance after a reporter called them to follow up for a story. His father, Gael Ulrich, told reporters that the incident was “very troubling.”
Ulrich’s last radio transmission allegedly indicated that the plane was traveling at about 500 knots, at an altitude of around 24,000 feet.
A search party was assembled by the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday, with the help of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, according to sources. Covering an area approximately 800 square miles in length, the party was unable to uncover anything yesterday, but today’s search, aided by four aircraft and two boats, revealed debris that could have possibly come from the plane about 15 miles off the coast of Eleuthera, Bahamas.
Sources indicate that the 40-year-old Jennifer Blumin’s design company, Skylight Studios, has been the subject of many news stories since she launched it in 2004. The New York resident is known for finding run-down, abandoned locations in and around the New York City area and using her expertise to transform what seems like dumps into beautiful event spaces, perfect for meetings or parties.
Records show that, as of 2015, Blumin resided in Tribeca, with her husband James Ramsey and their two young sons. The couple’s loft recently went on the market for almost $4 million earlier this year.
Ulrich, an engineer based out of New Hampshire, founded a motor company called Xootr, specializing in the manufacturing of scooters and trendy bicycles. He also currently works as the technical director of Radon Sport, LLC. The company works closely with the racing industry to produce custom car designs and manufacture new models.
[Featured Image by John Moore/Staff/Getty Images]