Two couples from the Washington area were killed Thursday night when the single-engine plane in which they were returning from an Atlantic City outing nose-dived into a New Jersey marsh during a storm, officials said.

Rescue workers yesterday recovered the bodies of Carl W. Lamb, 32, and his wife Doretha, 32, of 8716 Oakdale, Oxon Hill, and Nina Turner, 32, of 3973 Blaine Street NE in the District from the plane, which was buried up to its tail in mud, said New Jersey State Trooper Fred MacFarland.

MacFarland said the body of the pilot, Julian Turner, 34, the husband of Nina Turner, was still inside the plane when rescue workers abandoned their efforts at the approach of darkness. He said recovery efforts will resume today.

The plane, a PA-28 Piper Cherokee flying from the Millville, N.J., airport to Woodbridge, Va., crashed in a marsh area known as Black Neck Creek about 200 yards from the Delaware Bay near Bridgeton.

Officials said the two couples had spent the day in Atlantic City. They said the aircraft took off from Millville at 8:32 p.m., but turned back when it encountered bad weather over the bay and was last heard from near Dover, Del.

A crabber found the plane buried in the mud early yesterday and notified state police, officials said.

Authorities said high winds on the bay and a surging tide hampered the rescue efforts being coordinated by state police and the Coast Guard. MacFarland said a helicopter was used in an effort to lift the plane from the mud.