UPDATE: Pilot and co-pilot identified as victims in Florida plane crash
In a tragic incident on Friday, a private jet crashed on Interstate 75 near Naples, Florida, resulting in the deaths of the pilot and co-pilot. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deceased as 50-year-old pilot Edward Daniel Murphy and 65-year-old co-pilot Ian Frederick Hofmann.
The three survivors of the crash have been identified as crew member Sydney Ann Bosmans, 23, and passengers Aaron Baker, 35, and Audra Green, 23, all from Columbus, Ohio. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment, and their current conditions remain unknown.
According to witnesses, moments before the crash, the pilot calmly informed an airport controller that the aircraft “was not going to make the runway” due to a loss of both engines. The jet, carrying five people, was attempting an emergency landing on the highway when it collided with a vehicle. The wing of the plane dragged the car before crashing into a wall, causing an explosion and thick black smoke.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that two people were killed in the crash. Federal authorities have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
The plane had departed from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and was scheduled to land at Naples Airport. The pilot had contacted the tower requesting an emergency landing due to the engine failure. However, contact with the tower was lost, and shortly after, smoke was spotted coming from the crash site.
Brianna Walker, a witness to the crash, described how the wing of the plane collided with the car in front of hers, pulverizing it. She and her friend had noticed the plane moments before it crashed, allowing them to pull over and avoid the collision.
The aircraft involved in the crash was operated by Hop-a-Jet Worldwide Charter based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The company has stated that it is deeply concerned for the well-being of the passengers, crew members, and their families. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, and a preliminary report is expected to be released in 30 days.
This devastating incident serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of air travel and the importance of thorough investigations to prevent future accidents.