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Private Cessna aircraft Crashed after NATO jets scrambled

BY Anas Shah Sep 05, 2022. 02:32 pm UPDATED: Sep 05, 2022. 02:32 pm

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On Sunday, a private jet that had been pursued by NATO jets crashed into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Latvia.

According to Flightradar24, a website that tracks international aviation traffic, the Cessna Citation 551, which was registered in Austria, took off from Jerez, Spain at 12:56 UTC (8:56am ET) and was headed for Cologne, Germany.
However, according to Artis Pabriks, the deputy prime minister and defence minister of Latvia, it went down in the vicinity of the city of Ventspils. He added that the Latvian military was involved in a search and rescue operation.

The German daily Bild said that the plane had four persons on board, including the pilot, a man, a woman, and a person Bild characterised as a daughter, without going into further detail. The aircraft was approved for single-pilot flights.
A Cessna 551 Citation II/SP, like the one that crashed, as seen in a file photo at Düsseldorf Airport in Germany in 2021.

“Jets from NATO allies and partners were scrambled to follow the private Cessna plane which crashed on Sunday evening off the Latvian coast. They included German planes from Neuburg and Laage in Germany, and German and Spanish planes, part of NATO Baltic Air Policing, from Ämari, Estonia. France, Denmark and Sweden also scrambled jets under national command, a NATO official told CNN.
“The pilots were unable to contact the plane and could not see anyone in the cockpit,” the official added.
Flightradar24 said “the pilot didn’t answer ATC calls and the aircraft continued to fly on autopilot in a straight line before it lost altitude and crashed.”
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Before the tracking location stopped receiving the aircraft’s transponder signal, “last altitude obtained was 2100 ft at -8000fpm fall.”
Spanish officials informed the French aviation police, who also halted and accompanied the flight, “of probable challenges of pressurisation of the aircraft,” according to a statement from the French armed forces ministry.
The unresponsive aircraft “was continually escorted during its route towards Germany,” the ministry stated, despite French authorities’ attempts to contact it failing.
Latvia claimed to have dispatched ships to the area.
A Swedish helicopter and an aeroplane participated in the rescue effort in Latvian waters after the plane passed over the Swedish island of Gotland, according to Lars Antonsson of Sweden’s Maritime and Air Rescue Center, who spoke to CNN affiliate Expressen.
Although search crews have retrieved some of the jet, according to Antonsson, “no survivors have been found.”
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