The Coast Guard continued searching Wednesday for two individuals who were aboard a jet that went down in the Atlantic Ocean just off Florida’s coast Tuesday night. Rescuers also worked to haul in parts of the plane and asked boaters to stay out of the area due to safety concerns. The jet was known to be carrying four people who were on a medical trip and headed back to Mexico. The Learjet 35 had brought a patient to a South Florida hospital Tuesday night. According to authorities, not long after dropping off the patient, the jet took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and moments later it plunged into the ocean approximately a mile off the coastline.
Mexico’s Transportation Department stated that two pilots, Jose Hiram Galvan de la O. and Josue Buendía Moreno, and two passengers, Fernando Senties Nieto and Mariana Gonzalez Isunza, were aboard the jet when it crashed. Mexican officials have not released which two individual’s bodies were found. Greg Meyer, a spokesman for the airport, confirmed that there were four people aboard the jet, including two pilots, a doctor, and a nurse. The company that runs the medical transport planes stated that the crew had just picked up a patient in Costa Rica and brought the patient to a South Florida hospital. According to Meyer, the jet was set to return to Cozumel, Mexico.
Shortly after takeoff, a distress call came in to the air traffic control tower in which one of the pilots stated, “We have an engine failure,” and he requested permission to proceed back to the runway. Just a few moments later, the pilot stated “may day, may day, may day.” The Federal Aviation Administration warned of potential issues it found in the Learjet 35 back in June. Maintenance workers found cracks in the control column on five Learjet 35 airplanes that were inspected. The problem was not deemed dangerous enough at the time to warrant further action.
Search-and-rescue continues after Fla. jet crash, www.palmbeachpost.com November 20, 2013
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