Federal authorities are investigating a tragic incident in Florida where a private jet attempting an emergency landing on a highway collided with a vehicle, resulting in a fiery crash that claimed two lives. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the Bombardier Challenger 600 jet had five occupants when the incident occurred near Naples, just north of Interstate 75 heading towards Fort Lauderdale.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will lead the investigation alongside the FAA. Eyewitnesses described the horrifying scene, with the plane’s wing dragging a car and causing a devastating impact. The crash occurred around 3:15 p.m. on Friday, and the NTSB dispatched investigators to the site.
Brianna Walker, an eyewitness, recalled narrowly avoiding the tragedy, stating, “It’s seconds that separated us from the car in front of us. The wing pulverized this one car.” The plane had departed from Ohio State University in Columbus and was en route to Naples when it encountered difficulties. The pilot communicated an emergency, reporting the loss of both engines. Despite clearance to land on a runway, the pilot indicated the impossibility of reaching it.
The tower lost contact, and shortly afterward, smoke was spotted near the interstate. Naples Airport Authority spokesperson Robin King revealed that the plane had been scheduled to land in Naples at the time of the crash. Firefighters equipped with special foam responded to the scene, rescuing three individuals from the wreckage. However, two fatalities were confirmed by Collier County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Adam Fisher.
The aircraft, operated by Hop-a-Jet Worldwide Charter based in Fort Lauderdale, was scheduled to return to the city. The Ohio State University clarified that the plane had no affiliation with the institution. A preliminary report on the crash’s cause is expected from federal authorities within 30 days.