Fort Lauderdale

Search for missing men suspended two days after Learjet crash off Fort Lauderdale

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended a massive search-and-rescue mission Thursday for two Mexican nationals still missing following the crash two days earlier of a Learjet that took off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

“The United States Coast Guard and our partners express the deepest condolences to the friends and families who lost loved ones in this tragic incident,” said Capt. Todd Lutes, chief of incident management branch. “The Coast Guard will continue to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigative efforts.”

The twin-engine Learjet plummeted 1,800 feet into the Atlantic just before 8 p.m. Tuesday only minutes after taking flight. The pilot and co-pilot of the Mexican-registered air ambulance had flown into Fort Lauderdale that afternoon carrying a patient from Costa Rica, and a two-person medical crew. They were headed back to Cozumel when the plane went down.

Before crashing, the pilot reported engine failure and tried to turn back for an emergency landing.

The bodies of a man and woman were found Tuesday night by rescue crews, and authorities identified the man Thursday as pilot Josué Buendía Moreno, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. They did not identify the woman, but only one, nurse Mariana González Isunza, was onboard.

Still missing: pilot Hiram Galván de la O and physician Fernando Senties Nieto.

The search will remain suspended “until new evidence is presented,” according to the Coast Guard.

Before calling off the search, crews had scoured a massive debris field, searching more than 4,000 square miles and recovering more than 1,000 pounds of wreckage. The National Transportation Safety Board is tasked with determining the cause of the crash.

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category