VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Federal authorities have called off their search for a missing pilot off the coast of southeast Florida, but local officials say their search continues.

The Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, said Thursday it was suspending its air search for the missing Piper Seneca flown by Andrei Postelnicu. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said it would continue searching for any signs of the 37-year-old who was born in Romania but lived in the United Kingdom.

Authorities say he left Marathon in the Florida Keys on Friday and was scheduled to land in Vero Beach that evening, but never arrived.

Debris recovered along the beach belonged to his plane. His backpack was also found along with a boot.

His family issued a statement saying they remained “hopeful.”

(© Copyright 2014 the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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