Two people tragically lost their lives after a small plane attempted an emergency landing on Interstate 75 in southwest Florida. The crash occurred near the Pine Ridge Road exit in Collier County, causing a massive plume of black smoke to rise into the air. Eyewitness Brianna Walker described the harrowing moment when the wing of the plane dragged the car in front of hers and slammed into the highway wall. The scene was described as feeling “unreal, like a movie,” as the plane skidded across the highway and exploded into flames.
The Federal Aviation Administration identified the aircraft as a Bombardier Challenger 600 jet, with five people on board at the time of the crash. The pilot had contacted the tower, stating that they had lost both engines and were in need of an emergency landing. Though the airport workers sent fire trucks with special foam to the scene, only three of the five people on board were taken from the wreckage alive. Collier County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Adam Fisher confirmed two deaths, with the NTSB leading the investigation into the crash, and further details are expected 30 days after the crash.
The Southbound lanes of the interstate remained closed late Friday night, adding to the tragic aftermath of this devastating incident. The FAA, NTSB, and other officials will continue to investigate, unraveling the reasons behind the tragic events that unfolded that afternoon. The plane, operated by Hop-a-Jet Worldwide Charter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was reportedly scheduled to fly back to Fort Lauderdale later that day, adding another layer of complexity to the story. As the investigation commences and survivors and their families grieve the losses, the Florida community and authorities are left to piece this tragic event together.