Published November 20, 2013
At least two people have died after a small plane bound for Cozumel, Mexico crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from the Fort Lauderdale airport Tuesday evening.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an e-mail to the Associated Press that four people were on board the plane, a Learjet 35 with a Mexican registration. Airport spokesman Greg Meyer says the jet was carrying two pilots, a doctor and a nurse who were returning to Cozumel, Mexico, after dropping off a patient in Fort Lauderdale.
Bergen added that the aircraft went down at approximately 8:15 p.m about three miles northeast of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and ended up in waters about a mile offshore.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported engine failure to air traffic controllers, declared "mayday, mayday, mayday," and attempted to return to the airport.
National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Brian Rayner said the entire flight lasted around six minutes.
The Coast Guard said in a statement that a boat crew located the wreckage later Tuesday night and is continuing the search for the two people on board who have not been accounted for.
Multiple boat crews have been combing over a 24-square mile area.
Authorities are asking beachgoers and boaters not to touch any debris that they may encounter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report