A private business jet with four people onboard is feared to have crashed in the Baltic Sea after running out of fuel. Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the Cessna Citation 551 jet as it flew off the coast of Sweden, but officials reported not being able to see anyone at the controls of the aircraft.
Data supplied by FlightRadar24 showed the aircraft circling above the Baltic Sea close to the Latvian port city of Ventspils before live tracking with the plane was lost at around 7:44 pm local time.
In the minutes before the data link with the plane was lost, its altitude had rapidly plummeted and it had veered from side to side after the aircraft apparently ran low on fuel.
The Austrian-registered aircraft (OE-FGR) took off from Jerez, Spain at 2:56 pm on Sunday bound for Cologne. The flight path indicated the pilot was fully in control of the aircraft until it flew directly over the West German city and proceeded in a straight North Easterly line across Germany and towards the Baltic Sea.
After air traffic control failed to get a response from the pilot, fighter jets were scrambled from Germany and Denmark.
The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that a rescue helicopter had been dispatched to the crash site. Four people are believed to have been aboard the aircraft.
Sweden’s Maritime and Air Rescue Centre said it was sending several helicopters and aircraft to the crash site.
German tabloid Bild cited sources who claimed the pilot had previously reported problems with the cabin pressure on the 43-year-old aircraft. Alongside the pilot, a man and woman, and their daughter were onboard the plane.
The newspaper claims air traffic controllers first lost contact with the pilot before the aircraft even left Spanish air space.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.