In an unfortunate incident on Friday afternoon, a two-engine business jet crashed while attempting a forced landing on I-75 near the Pine Ridge Road exit in Collier County, Florida. The plane, a 2004 Challenger 604 registered to a charter company based in Fort Lauderdale, hit a vehicle on the highway before veering off the road and crashing into a wall.
The aircraft was operated by Hop-a-Jet Worldwide Charter based in Fort Lauderdale and had taken off from an airport at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. It was scheduled to land at Naples Airport at 3:12 p.m. before flying to Fort Lauderdale.
According to recordings of Air Traffic Control radio traffic, the jet experienced engine failure and the pilot declared that they would not be making the runway due to engine failure. The FAA confirmed that five people were on board the plane but only three managed to escape before it caught fire. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office confirmed two fatalities and southbound I-75 is currently closed.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash and Hop-a-Jet did not immediately respond to an email and phone message seeking comment. A spokesperson for Ohio State University stated that the aircraft is not affiliated with the university and they have no further information about it.