NATIONAL NEWS

‘We’ve lost both engines,’ pilot says before private jet crashed onto Florida interstate, killing 2

Feb 10, 2024, 5:08 AM | Updated: 9:22 am

Emergency officials work the scene of a small plane crash on Interstate 75 in Naples, Fla., near Ex...

Emergency officials work the scene of a small plane crash on Interstate 75 in Naples, Fla., near Exit 105, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Two people were confirmed dead. (Andrew West/The News-Press via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Andrew West/The News-Press via AP)

Moments before a private jet slammed into a Florida highway, the pilot calmly told an airport controller that the aircraft “was not going to make the runway” since it had lost both engines.

The jet, with five people aboard, was bound for the airport in Naples when it tried to make an emergency landing on Interstate 75 on Friday afternoon. But witnesses say it collided with a vehicle — the wing of the plane dragging a car before slamming into a wall. An explosion followed, with flames and black smoke rising from the scene.

Two people were killed, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, but it wasn’t immediately know whether the victims had been passengers on the plane or were on the ground.

Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the crash near Naples, just north of where the interstate heads east toward Fort Lauderdale along what is known as Alligator Alley. One National Transportation Safety Board investigator arrived at the crash site Friday afternoon, with several more expected to arrive on Saturday.

The plane had taken off from an airport at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, at about 1 p.m. It was scheduled to land in Naples around the time of the crash, Naples Airport Authority spokesperson Robin King said, when pilot contacted the tower requesting an emergency landing.

“Got that. Emergency. Clear to land. Runway. Two. Three,” the air traffic controller responded to the pilot, in audio obtained by The Associated Press.

“We’re clear to land but we’re not gonna make the runway. We’ve lost both engines,” the pilot calmly replied.

The tower lost contact, and then airport workers saw the smoke from the interstate just a few miles away, King said.

King said they sent fire trucks with special foam to the scene, and three of the five people on board were taken from the wreckage alive.

Brianna Walker saw the wing of the plane drag the car in front of hers and slam into the wall.

“It’s seconds that separated us from the car in front of us,” she said. “The wing pulverized this one car.”

Walker and her friend spotted the plane moments before it hit the highway, allowing her friend to pull over before the crash.

“The plane was over our heads by inches,” she said. “It took a hard right and skid across the highway.”

According to the FlightAware aircraft tracker, the plane was operated by Hop-a-Jet Worldwide Charter based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The aircraft had been scheduled to fly back to Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon.

Hop-a-Jet said Friday night that it had “received confirmed reports of an accident involving one of our leased aircraft near Naples” and would send a team to the crash site, the Naples Daily News reported.

“Our immediate concern is for the well-being of our passengers, crew members, and their families,” the statement said. It didn’t contain details of the crash.

A spokesperson for Ohio State University said the aircraft is not affiliated with the university, and they had no further information about it.

Federal authorities said a preliminary report about the cause of the crash can be expected in 30 days.

___

Cline reported from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

National News

FILE - A bump stock is displayed in Harrisonburg, Va., on March 15, 2019. The Supreme Court will he...

Associated Press

Supreme Court to hear challenge to bump stock ban in high court’s latest gun case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a challenge to a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, a gun accessory used in a Las Vegas massacre that was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. A Texas gun shop owner argues the Trump administration didn’t follow federal law when it reversed course […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, speaks during a news conference outside the Capito...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden to appear for closed-door interview with Republicans conducting impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden is set to appear Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a closed-door deposition with lawmakers, a critical moment for Republicans as their impeachment inquiry into his father and their family’s business affairs teeters on the brink of collapse. The deposition will mark a decisive point for the 14-month Republican investigation into […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

1 person injured when Hawaii tour helicopter crashes on remote Kauai beach

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — One person was injured when a tour helicopter crashed on a remote beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the county fire department said Tuesday. An aircraft operated by Jack Harter Helicopters crashed at Honopu Beach on the Napali Coast, a rugged stretch of Kauai that is only accessible by hiking, […]

2 hours ago

Defendant Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, former armorer on the set of the movie "Rust", walks back to her s...

Associated Press

Expert in Old West firearms says gun wouldn’t malfunction in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Courtroom testimony by an independent gun expert Tuesday cast new doubt on Alec Baldwin’s account that his gun went off without pulling the trigger in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer during a 2021 rehearsal on the set of the Western movie “Rust.” Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to involuntary […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called Michigan for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared former President Donald Trump the winner of Michigan’s Republican primary based on an analysis of initial vote returns from a cross-section of the state. With the victory, Trump is now a perfect five-for-five in presidential contests in which he appeared on the ballot. The AP declared Trump the […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Public health officer in Michigan keeps her job after lengthy legal fight over COVID rules

WEST OLIVE, Mich. (AP) — An embattled public health officer in Michigan will get to keep her job, after a lengthy legal fight with county commissioners over pandemic-era mask mandates concluded Tuesday with the board bowing to the will of a court-ordered arbitrator. The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners voted 11-0 Monday to retain Adeline […]

6 hours ago

‘We’ve lost both engines,’ pilot says before private jet crashed onto Florida interstate, killing 2