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‘We’ve lost both engines,’ pilot said before private jet crashed onto Florida interstate, killing 2

A pilot and co-pilot were identified as the two killed in a fiery plane crash on a Florida highway, law enforcement officials said Saturday afternoon.

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A pilot and co-pilot were identified as the two killed in a fiery plane crash on a Florida highway, law enforcement officials said Saturday afternoon.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office identified Edward Daniel Murphy, a 50-year-old pilot and co-pilot Ian Frederick Hofmann, 65, as the deceased. The three survivors were crew member Sydney Ann Bosmans, 23, and passengers Aaron Baker, 35, and Audra Green, 23, both of Columbus, Ohio. The three were taken to a local hospital for injuries. Their conditions are unknown.

Moments before the private jet slammed into a Florida highway, the pilot had calmly told an airport controller that the aircraft “was not going to make the runway” because it had lost both engines.

Plane Lands Florida Interstate-Pilot 1

Listen to the charter jet pilot declaring an emergency, as the plane nears the airport in Naples, Florida. COURTESY: LiveATC.Net

The jet, with five people aboard, was bound for the airport in Naples when it tried to make an emergency landing on Interstate 75 on Friday afternoon. But witnesses say it collided with a vehicle — the wing of the plane dragging a car before slamming into a wall. An explosion followed, with flames and black smoke rising from the scene.

Two people were killed, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the crash near Naples, just north of where the interstate heads east toward Fort Lauderdale along what is known as Alligator Alley.

The plane had taken off from an airport at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, about 1 p.m. It was scheduled to land in Naples around the time of the crash, Naples Airport Authority spokesperson Robin King said, when pilot contacted the tower requesting an emergency landing.

“Got that. Emergency. Clear to land. Runway. Two. Three,” the air traffic controller responded to the pilot, in audio obtained by 鶹ýapp.

“We’re clear to land, but we’re not gonna make the runway. We’ve lost both engines,” the pilot calmly replied.

The tower lost contact, and then airport workers saw the smoke from the interstate just a few miles away, King said.

King said they sent fire trucks with special foam to the scene, and three of the five people on board were taken from the wreckage alive.

Brianna Walker saw the wing of the plane drag the car in front of hers and slam 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 spotted 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.”

According to the FlightAware aircraft tracker, the plane was operated by Hop-a-Jet 鶹ýappwide Charter based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The aircraft had been scheduled to fly back to Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon.

Hop-a-Jet said Friday night that it had “received confirmed reports of an accident involving one of our leased aircraft near Naples” and would send a team to the crash site, the .

“Our immediate concern is for the well-being of our passengers, crew members, and their families,” the statement said. It didn’t contain details of the crash.

A spokesperson for Ohio State University said the aircraft is not affiliated with the university, and they had no further information about it.

Federal authorities said a preliminary report about the cause of the crash can be expected in 30 days.

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Cline reported from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.