Two small planes carrying a total of eight people crashed in separate incidents off the coast of Florida, authorities said. No survivors had been found by late Saturday.

A Piper Aztec carrying five people crashed off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, officials said.

Authorities lost radar contact with the plane at 9:20 a.m. while it was on its way to the Bahamas, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson said.
A rescue helicopter spotted the debris about 17 miles east of Fort Lauderdale, Johnson said.

It was not immediately known what caused the crash. A search and rescue effort continued late Saturday.

Three others were believed dead after their small plane hit a blimp's wire tether and crashed off the Florida Keys, officials said.

The plane crashed late Friday night, and officials were sifting through wreckage Saturday and trying to identify the victims, said Monroe County sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane crash about two miles off the northern shore of Cudjoe Key, Herrin said.