TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Four Americans and a Canadian pilot were killed when a small plane went down off the coast of Roatan island in Honduras, officials said Sunday.
Armed Forces spokesman Jose Domingo Meza confirmed the nationalities of those who died in Saturday's crash.
The Piper Cherokee Six plummeted into the Atlantic shortly after takeoff from the popular tourist destination of Roatan en route to the port of Trujillo. The military said in a statement that rescue boats with police divers and firemen recovered four bodies within minutes of the crash, and transported another to a hospital, where he died shortly after of internal injuries.
The U.S. State Department also confirmed the deaths of four U.S. citizens and Global Affairs Canada confirmed that a Canadian also had died. They did not release names.
Honduran authorities identified the pilot as Patrick Forseth, a Canadian national who developed tourism projects in the Trujillo Bay area.
Forseth was involved in a legal dispute with Afro-indigenous Hondurans who accused him of trying to develop their ancestral lands into vacation properties for international tourists. Forseth defended his company in a 2017 statement, saying it had purchased the land in 2013 and had made several attempts to reach an amicable resolution.