Two killed as a small jet crashes on I-75 in Collier County
The plane crashed into a car while making an emergency landing just north of Alligator Alley. Southbound motorists on I-75 should seek alternate routes.
Two people have been confirmed dead after a small jet airplane crash-landed on Interstate 75 in Collier County Friday afternoon, hitting a vehicle in the process and shutting down the southbound lanes at Mile Marker 107.
Florida Highway Patrol units were on the scene of the crash near the Golden Gate overpass and exit in Collier County. The FHP issued an alert about the crash shortly after 3:30 p.m.
The Collier County Sheriff's Office and the FHP confirmed the deaths..
The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 remain closed as the scene investigation remains ongoing. Southbound I-75 drivers should seek an alternate route.
The northbound lanes of 75 reopened as of 7:40 p.m.
An Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the 2004 Bombardier Challenger 600 jet crashed around 3:15 p.m. with five people on board. Information provided to officials at the Naples Airport indicated there were three survivors.
The spokesman said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates.
The FHP urged drivers to avoid the area if possible and seek an alternate route.
The Associated Press reported Brianna Walker, 26, witnessed as the wing of the plane dragged the car in front of hers and slammed into the wall.
“It’s seconds that separated us from the car in front of us,” she said. “The wing pulverized this one car.”
Walker and her friend saw the plane moments before it hit the highway, allowing her friend to pull over before the crash.
“The plane was over our heads by inches,” she said. “It took a hard right and skid across the highway.”
Walker said an explosion of flames then burst from the plane with a loud boom. Pieces of the plane littered the highway.
“It feels unreal like a movie,” she said. “It was seconds between us dying.”
Online flight tracking showed the jet, a Bombardier Challenger twin-jet owned by East Shore Aviation and operated by Hop-a-Jet at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, left Fort Lauderdale at 9:35 a.m. Friday and landed in the Ohio State University Airport around 11:57 a.m. The plane departed the Ohio State airport at 1:02 p.m., and was to land at Naples Airport at 3:12 p.m.
The plane crashed on the freeway shortly before landing in Naples. It was scheduled to leave Naples and head back to Fort Lauderdale later Friday.
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