The plane traveled from Miami to Houston when it crashed on Saturday about 40 kilometers southeast of George Bush intercontinental airport. Only one body has been found so far, said Sheriff Brian Hawthorne of Chambers County.
The sheriff described the contents of parcels and cardboard boxes scattered across the water along with parts of the twin-engined aircraft.
"The plane was not intact," he said. "I know what I've seen, I do not think anyone could survive."
Hawthorne said the Trinity Bay crash site near Anahuac was 5 feet deep in the water and accessible by airboats and other flat boats , The scene spans 3 miles, he said.
Several dive teams from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Houston Police and the Baytown Police are at the crash site, he added.
The aircraft was operated by Atlas Air Inc On behalf of Amazon, the operator said in a statement.
Several spectators saw the plane sink
About six people saw the plane go into the water. Some said it sounded like the engines were shaking, the sheriff said.
"There is no doubt that he had a problem with the aircraft," the sheriff said. "Then it turned and went into a dive."
The 767 was in a normal descent as it approached the airport and then entered a "very, very fast descent" to 6,200 meters, said National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt Reporter.
Atlas Air said its priority was the three people on the plane and their family members. The operator explained that he was working with federal investigators.
The Airline Professionals Association president, Teamsters Local 1
"Our union stands as a family and supports the families of our members," said Daniel C. Wells, who is also the captain of Atlas Air. "Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on this plane, and we do everything we can to support their families."
The aircraft was built in 1992
"The joint operation between the Sheriff's Chambers County, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI will continue to try to rescue the victims and the plane," the sheriff said, Office said in a statement.
The plane was in Jack's Pocket at the north end of Trinity Bay, said the sheriff's Chambers County on Facebook.
According to the FAA website, the aircraft was built in 1992 and the flight number was 3591.
Boeing said it was sad to learn about the crash.
"We are concerned about the safety of the three people aboard the aircraft," he said. "We are ready to provide technical support to the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the accident."