‘Ghost plane’ crashes in Baltic Sea after running out of fuel

A private business jet with four people on board reportedly crashed in the Baltic Sea after running out of fuel. Fighter jets were dispatched to intercept the Cessna Citation 551 jet as it flew off the Swedish coast, but officials said they could not see anyone at the controls of the plane.

Data provided by FlightRadar24 showed the plane circling over the Baltic Sea near the Latvian port town of Ventspils before live tracking with the plane was lost around 7:44 p.m. local time.

FlightRadar24
FlightRadar24

In the minutes before the loss of data link with the plane, its altitude had rapidly dropped and it had veered from side to side after the plane apparently ran out of fuel.

The Austrian-registered plane (OE-FGR) took off from Jerez, Spain, on Sunday at 2.56 p.m. bound for Cologne. The flight path indicated that the pilot had full control of the aircraft until it flew directly over the West German city and followed a straight line northeast through Germany and towards the Baltic Sea.

After air traffic control did not get a response from the pilot, fighter jets were dispatched from Germany and Denmark.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that a rescue helicopter had been dispatched to the crash site. Four people are believed to have been on board the plane.

The Swedish Sea and Air Rescue Center said it was sending several helicopters and planes to the crash site.

German tabloid Bild quoted sources as saying the pilot had previously reported cabin pressure issues on the 43-year-old plane. Alongside the pilot, a man and a woman, as well as their daughter were on board the plane.

The newspaper claims that air traffic controllers first lost contact with the pilot even before the plane left Spanish airspace.

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Mateusz Maszczynski


Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the Middle East’s most important airline and flew throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centered stories. Always on the cutting edge, Matt’s knowledge, analysis and news coverage are often used by some of the biggest names in journalism.