The U.S. Coast Guard’s search for a private plane that was carrying The Skylight Group’s founder Jennifer Blumin was suspended Thursday night. Crews had covered more than 11,140 square miles – an area larger than the state of Massachusetts – during more than 75 hours in search of the plane east of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
“This was a swift and significant loss and its impact has reverberated through everyone that participated in the search,” Christopher Eddy, search and rescue mission coordinator for the Coast Guard said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved.”
A National Transportation Safety Board accident investigator has been assigned to the case to determine a probable cause of the accident.
The search team included representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Customs and Border Control and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. Initially, they canvassed a search area that encompassed 110 square miles, but that was reduced after a debris field was found 15 miles east of Eleuthera on Tuesday afternoon. After a Coast Guard helicopter crew was able to lower a rescue swimmer and retrieve some of the debris to transfer ashore for identification, some airplane components from the debris were confirmed to be from an MU-2B airplane.
The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber crew and a Coast Guard airplane crew assisted with the search.
Blumin, 40, had been traveling in a twin-engine Mitsubishi plane with her three- and four-year-old sons, and Nathan Ulrich, 52, of Lee, N.H. They were en route to Titusville, Fla., from Borinquen, Puerto Rico. Miami’s air traffic control contacted the U.S. Coast Guard at 2:10 p.m. after the plane lost radar and radio contact about 37 miles east of Eleuthera.
It was not known who was piloting the plane although Ulrich was listed as the pilot, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said.
A graduate of Cornell University, Blumin started the Skylight Group in 2004. Building on the concept of re-envisioning historical spaces and converting them for high-end event use, Skylight Group now consists of a portfolio of commercial real estate options in New York and San Francisco.
Blumin helped woo designers and fashion brands to such locations as Skylight Clarkson Sq., Clarkson North, Modern, Skylight on Spring, 195 Broadway, Iron Works, 300 Vesey, One Hanson in Brooklyn and Moynihan Station, which at one time processed 90 percent of the mail in the U.S. The latter, the McKim, Mead & White-designed James A. Farley Post Office building, was popular for its vast seating, hosting a range of New York Fashion Week shows and presentations over the years. Thom Browne, Prabal Gurung, Kanye West, Ralph Lauren, Rag & Bone and Edun were among the many who staged events at Skylight venues.
In fall 2015, IMG shifted New York Fashion Week to two spaces: Skylight at Moynihan Station at 360 West 33rd Street and Skylight Clarkson Sq. at 550 Washington Street. The shows had been held at Lincoln Center for five years. At that time, IMG declined to disclose the length of the contract for the new sites, but said it was a multiyear deal.
In San Francisco, Skylight has Gatekeeper’s Residence, Spa Space, Power House, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Mint and Pier 38. The company pitched itself as curating impactful physical activations with premium brands and content creators to generate exposure and traffic that accelerates development, fund-raising and leasing goals.