Learjet crash victims identified

Mexican government confirms 3 men, 1 woman on board at time of crash

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter , Liane Morejon - Reporter , Barbara A. Besteni


Two people are dead after the Coast Guard says a small plane with a medical crew on board crashed three miles off of Fort Lauderdale's coast Tuesday night.

Multiple agencies searched for two other people who the FAA said were also on board the aircraft.

On Wednesday morning, the Mexican government identified the four people believed to be on board the plane. The pilots were identified as Jose Hiram Galvan de la O and Josue Buendia Moreno, and the passengers as Fernando Senties Nieto and Mariana Gonzalez Isunza.

"The four people on board were Mexican national citizens, and our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the two who we've confirmed dead and the two who are still missing," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss.

According to his website, Senties Nieto's medical practice specialized in family medicine, clinical psychology, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. An employee at his office said Gonzalez Isunza worked as a nurse.

Records say Galvan de la O received his pilots license in 2009 and was certified in Mexico to fly single- and multi-engine aircrafts.

According to a statement released by the FAA, a Mexican-registered Learjet 35 aircraft that departed from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport went down in the Atlantic Ocean about 8 p.m.

A Coast Guard representative confirmed that two bodies were found among the debris about 8:45 p.m.

"This is an active search-and-rescue case, primarily," said Coast Guard Lt. Paul Turner.

The FAA said two pilots and two passengers were on board the small plane. FAA notified the Coast Guard that the plane went down. It took rescuers 45 minutes to find the debris field.

By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the Coast Guard said the debris field had extended 20 square miles, and they expect debris to begin washing up on shore.

LISTEN: Plane crash audio

More than 50 rescuers participated in the search and recovery operation. The Coast Guard said they plan to continue the search for the other two victims throughout the day Wednesday.

The medical flight, with a medical crew on board, was heading for Cozumel, Mexico, authorities said.

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