Officials reveal tragic death toll after plane crashes on Florida interstate

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By stefan armitage

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A devastating plane crash in Collier County, Florida, has left two individuals dead and prompted the closure of Interstate 75 after a small aircraft collided with a vehicle on Friday afternoon.

The incident, involving a plane carrying five individuals from Ohio State University's airport, resulted in a fiery debris field and plumes of black smoke that billowed into the air, according to reports from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Speaking to Naples Daily News, eyewitness Jinny Johnson recounted the harrowing scene she encountered shortly after the crash occurred. "All of a sudden I saw a lot of black smoke," Johnson said. "It was pitch black. As I got closer, the smoke got a little lighter. And then I saw flames."

Emergency responders rushed to the scene, with helicopters landing near the wreckage and firetrucks dispatched from Naples Airport equipped with special foam-type substances to control jet fuel fires.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the aircraft - identified as a Bombardier Challenger 600 jet - crashed on southbound Interstate 75 near mile marker 107, Pine Ridge Road, at approximately 3:10PM. The plane, which departed from Columbus, Ohio, was en route to the Naples Airport before scheduled departure to Fort Lauderdale.

It crashed a little over 4 miles short of the airport.

Robin King, Director of Communication with The Naples Airport Authority, revealed that communication with the aircraft was lost just before the crash, indicating a possible engine failure. In a final distress call from the pilot, the dire situation unfolded as both engines failed, forcing an emergency landing attempt.

In a released communication tape, the pilot can be heard telling airport controllers that the plane would not make the runway for a safe landing.

"Okay, Challenger, Hop-A-Jet 823, lost both engines, emergency. I'm making an emergency landing," the pilot said.

After an airport controller told the pilot that a runway was free to land, the pilot tragically informs them: "We're clear to land but we're not gonna make the runway. We've lost both engines."

Despite efforts to reopen the interstate, southbound lanes remained closed into the night as Florida Highway Patrol troopers conducted investigations, advising drivers to seek alternate routes.

Local resident Garrett Elsinger told NBC6 about the moment he and his son heard an explosion and saw flames emerging.

"Within a few seconds, we were getting closer, and we're like, wait a minute — that's not a car, that's a plane," Elsinger told NBC6. "Thick, black smoke is billowing up and as we're getting closer, I'm like, that's not a small Cessna plane that you read about that came and landed on the highway, that's a jet — that's a big passenger plane."

Hop-a-Jet, the charter company associated with the aircraft, released a statement expressing concern for the passengers, crew members, and their families. "Our immediate concern is for the well-being of our passengers, crew members, and their families," the statement read.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, while authorities continue to work tirelessly at the crash site to gather information and ensure public safety.

Our thoughts go out to everybody impacted by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: X/FloridaHighwayPatrol

Officials reveal tragic death toll after plane crashes on Florida interstate

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

A devastating plane crash in Collier County, Florida, has left two individuals dead and prompted the closure of Interstate 75 after a small aircraft collided with a vehicle on Friday afternoon.

The incident, involving a plane carrying five individuals from Ohio State University's airport, resulted in a fiery debris field and plumes of black smoke that billowed into the air, according to reports from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Speaking to Naples Daily News, eyewitness Jinny Johnson recounted the harrowing scene she encountered shortly after the crash occurred. "All of a sudden I saw a lot of black smoke," Johnson said. "It was pitch black. As I got closer, the smoke got a little lighter. And then I saw flames."

Emergency responders rushed to the scene, with helicopters landing near the wreckage and firetrucks dispatched from Naples Airport equipped with special foam-type substances to control jet fuel fires.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the aircraft - identified as a Bombardier Challenger 600 jet - crashed on southbound Interstate 75 near mile marker 107, Pine Ridge Road, at approximately 3:10PM. The plane, which departed from Columbus, Ohio, was en route to the Naples Airport before scheduled departure to Fort Lauderdale.

It crashed a little over 4 miles short of the airport.

Robin King, Director of Communication with The Naples Airport Authority, revealed that communication with the aircraft was lost just before the crash, indicating a possible engine failure. In a final distress call from the pilot, the dire situation unfolded as both engines failed, forcing an emergency landing attempt.

In a released communication tape, the pilot can be heard telling airport controllers that the plane would not make the runway for a safe landing.

"Okay, Challenger, Hop-A-Jet 823, lost both engines, emergency. I'm making an emergency landing," the pilot said.

After an airport controller told the pilot that a runway was free to land, the pilot tragically informs them: "We're clear to land but we're not gonna make the runway. We've lost both engines."

Despite efforts to reopen the interstate, southbound lanes remained closed into the night as Florida Highway Patrol troopers conducted investigations, advising drivers to seek alternate routes.

Local resident Garrett Elsinger told NBC6 about the moment he and his son heard an explosion and saw flames emerging.

"Within a few seconds, we were getting closer, and we're like, wait a minute — that's not a car, that's a plane," Elsinger told NBC6. "Thick, black smoke is billowing up and as we're getting closer, I'm like, that's not a small Cessna plane that you read about that came and landed on the highway, that's a jet — that's a big passenger plane."

Hop-a-Jet, the charter company associated with the aircraft, released a statement expressing concern for the passengers, crew members, and their families. "Our immediate concern is for the well-being of our passengers, crew members, and their families," the statement read.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, while authorities continue to work tirelessly at the crash site to gather information and ensure public safety.

Our thoughts go out to everybody impacted by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: X/FloridaHighwayPatrol