Broward County

Jet bound for South Florida crashes in ocean east of Fort Lauderdale, FAA says

UPDATE: The U.S. Coast Guard says the agency has suspended the search.

A Cessna business jet headed for South Florida kept going and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles east of Fort Lauderdale on Friday night.

The Federal Aviation Administration said preliminary information indicates only the pilot was aboard the Cessna Citation V, which flew out of St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton Illinois about 1:35 p.m. Friday and was destined for Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

The aircraft crashed 310 miles east of Fort Lauderdale about 6 p.m., the FAA said.

The condition of the pilot is unclear, but the FAA said U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets from the Florida Air National Guard “intercepted,” or spotted the aircraft and flew alongside it, before it went down. The Florida Air National Guard is based at Homestead Air Reserve Base.

“The aircraft was out of communication with air traffic controllers for more than one hour before it crashed,” the FAA said in a statement. “FAA air traffic controllers tracked the flight on radar during that time.”

The FAA referred questions about the pilot’s condition to the U.S. Coast Guard. A spokesman for the Coast Guard’s southeast district said crews were responding to the crash but did not disclose further details Friday evening.