Florida: At least two persons were killed after a small passenger jet with five people abroad crash-landed on a busy Florida highway and collided with two vehicles on the ground, according to authorities and news footage from the site. The Bombardier Challenger 600 business jet was on its way to the Naples Airport when both the turbofan engines failed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The NTSB said the plane took off from Ohio, after which the pilot radioed about the engine failure. Video and photos from the scene showed the aircraft engulfed in flames and smoke after it crash-landed on Interstate 75 near Naples, on southwestern Florida’s Gulf Coast, striking a car and a pickup truck.
The jet was carrying five people, according to both the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration. Highway Patrol spokesperson Molly Best said three people from the plane survived and that two other people were killed and their kin were being notified, declining to specify where the fatalities were from. The number of people who were riding in the impacted car and truck was not disclosed.
Watch the video of the crash
Miami-based television station WPLG said the pilot was heard on an air traffic control audio recording telling the Naples control tower that the plane had lost its two engines and was unable to make it to the airport. It said the plane was destined for an executive airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the Hop-a-Jet charter aviation carrier that operated the plane is based.
Brianna Walker, 26, witnessed as the wing of the plane dragged the car in front of hers and slammed into the wall. “It’s seconds that separated us from the car in front of us,” she said. “The wing pulverised this one car.”
A spokesperson for Ohio State University said the aircraft is not affiliated with the university, and they have no further information about it. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, with the NTSB leading the investigation.
The Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release that the southbound lanes of the interstate were closed and advised motorists to seek alternate routes. A photo captured by the Florida Department of Transportation showed a huge plume of black smoke rising from the plane.
(with inputs from Reuters, AP)
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