our people, including a family of three, are feared dead after their private jet travelling from Spain to Germany crashed into the Baltic Sea.
The Cessna Citation 551 jet, which had taken off from the Spanish city of Jerez on Sunday afternoon, disappeared from radar while flying over the Baltic Sea northwest of the Latvian port city of Ventspils.
The aircraft, registered in Austria, was en route to Cologne, Germany. German media said the passengers were a family of three — a man, a woman and their daughter — in addition to the pilot.
German newspaper Bild said the plane had reported shortly after takeoff that there was a problem with pressurisation in the cabin. But authorities lost radio contact with the aircraft soon after, and Spanish and French fighter jets were dispatched to intercept the plane.
But when they reached the plane, they saw nobody sitting in the cockpit, Bild said.
Reports said the pilot did not respond to communications and the private jet continued on autopilot before crashing into the sea. Rescue workers described the chances of finding any survivors from the crash as “minimal”.
Latvian and Swedish rescue and coast guard vessels were patrolling the crash site and a nearby passenger ferry was alerted to help in the efforts.
Flight trackers captured the moment the private jet began spiralling as it descended before crashing into the Baltic water.
Aviation expert Hans Kjäll told Swedish news agency TT pressure problems could have caused the passengers to lose consciousness.
According to the expert, this can happen very quickly, especially at the altitudes small aircrafts fly.
It is not known what caused the plane to fly off course.
“We have no explanation at all, we can only speculate’ about what happened ‘but they were clearly incapacitated on board’, Lars Antonsson, of Sweden’s Maritime and Air Rescue Centre, said.
He added that “no human remains have been found”
Debris from the plane and an oil spill have been found at the site, Swedish media reports said.