FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on a Nov. 19th plane crash that killed four Mexican nationals.
The Learjet 35 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Authorities recovered two bodies from the wreckage.
The airplane left for Cozumel, Mexico, about 7:50 p.m. when the pilot requested to return to the runway due to "engine failure," said the report. The air traffic controller directed him to maintain 4,000 feet and turn to a heading of 340 degrees, but the pilot that wasn't possible.
Read: NTSB preliminary report
Two minutes later, the pilot declared a mayday and again requested to return to the airport. Over the next three minutes, the airplane descended to 900 feet and slowed down as it flew northbound parallel to the shoreline and away from FLL.
The airplane then began turning toward the shore until it lost radar contact.
Mexico's Transportation Department identified the pilots as Jose Hiram Galvan de la O. and Josue Buendía Moreno and the passengers as Fernando Senties Nieto and Mariana Gonzalez Isunza, a physician and nurse.
According to Federal Aviation Administration and maintenance records, the airplane was built in 1979 and last inspected 15 days before the crash. The pilots had 11,326 hours of flight experience between them, according to the NTSB.
U.S. Coast Guard crews recovered more than 1,000 pounds of debris, including luggage, seat cushions, and the airplane's outer metal skin.
"The sheet metal skin showed no evidence of inflight or post-crash fire, and all fractures and tears were consistent with overload failure," states the NTSB report.
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