Cessna business jet crashes in ocean east of Fort Lauderdale

Air Force F-15 saw Cessna crash with non-responsive pilot

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Cessna Citation V crashed in the Atlantic Ocean Friday afternoon -- away from its designated flight plath -- about 310 miles east of Fort Lauderdale, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport air traffic controllers lost communication with the 2001 twin-engine Cessna and asked the U.S. Air Force to investigate.

The Florida Air National Guard dispatched two F-15 fighter jets from the Homestead Air Reserve. The pilots intercepted the Cessna 560 shortly before it went down. 

"Only the pilot was aboard," FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen wrote in an 8 p.m. e-mail. "The aircraft was out of communication with air traffic controllers for more than one hour before it crashed."

The Cessna Citation V is a corporate jet that seats six to 14 passengers. (Photo Courtesy of Cessna Corp/Newsmakers/ via Getty Images)

The Cessna left from St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, Illinois, about 2:35 p.m., and it descended rapidly and crashed out in the ocean about 6 p.m., according to Bergen. The F-15 fighter jets did not fire at the Cessna. 

According to FlightAware records, the N832R Cessna, owned by Hypo Consulting LLC, made a sudden drop in speed about 5:45 p.m. AirNav RadarBox records show there were erratic changes in speed and altitude. 

The plane headed toward the Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport, Bahamas, and crashed east of the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Mash Harbour, Bahamas. The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules airplane crew responded to the downed aircraft about 221 miles northeast of the Marsh Harbor, Bahamas. 

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The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.