Florida: Mexican Learjet Departs Fort Lauderdale Airport, Crashes in Atlantic Ocean

November 19, 2013 Updated: June 24, 2015

A Mexican-registered Learjet 35 took off from the airport in Fort Lauderdale on November 19 but crashed soon after in the Atlantic Ocean.

Four people–including two pilots–were on board, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) said.

The U.S Coast Guard said that two of these people are confirmed dead, while the search for the other two continues on Wednesday.

The pilots reported mechanical problems after takeoff. The plane crashed after taking off from the the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl. Airport.

The jet went down about three miles off the coast.

A helicopter and 9 vessels were sent out by the Coast Guard and other agencies. More than 50 people were involved in the search, which was suspended on November 21 after crews searched more than 4,000 square miles.

The jet left a large debris field.

In a distress call, the pilot tells the air traffic control tower, “We have an engine failure,” and he requests permission to return to the runway.

“We’re going to do a 180 and we’re going to land,” he says. A few minutes later, in response to the tower’s instructions, the pilot says, “Mayday, mayday, mayday.”

The company that runs the medical transport planes said their focus is on the victims, who had just picked up a patient in Costa Rica and dropped the patient off at a South Florida hospital.

“These are people that are dedicated to saving lives,” said Albert Carson, director of operations for AirEvac International.

Brian Rayner with the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash, told CBS that it’s rare to respond to a Learjet crash.

Air Evac International issued a statement saying: “The plane had recently been inspected and had no mechanical issues. Family of those on board this fateful flight have been flown here to Fort Lauderdale.”

On its Facebook page, the company added: “Words cannot even begin to express our sorrow, you are in our prayers.”


Dr. Fernando Senties Nieto, Nurse Mariana Isunza ID’ed as Victims in Florida Learjet Crash

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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