Narrative:The aircraft, a Learjet 35A bound for Cozumel, Mexico, impacted the waters of the Atlantic Ocean about three miles northeast of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All four aboard were killed.
The airplane had just completed an air ambulance flight for Air Evac International from San Jose, Costa Rica to Fort Lauderdale, and was repositioning back to its base in Cozumel, Mexico.
The airplane departed Fort Lauderdale Airport runway 10R about 19:50. LiveATC recordings of the Miami Departure frequency indicated that the controller cleared the flight to climb and maintain 7000 feet. The controller understood that the flight wanted to return to the airport, which was confirmed by the crew.
The controller then cleared them to "maintain four thousand, turn left heading 330". The crew replied that this was not possible and that they were "going to do a 180." At 19:52:34 the crew radioed "Mayday, mayday, mayday". The Miami Departure controller instructed the crew to turn left, heading 260. This was confirmed by the crew. Next, the controller reported the crew to expect an approach to 28R for landing and told them to turn left heading 240. About 19:53 the controller again instructed them to turn to a heading of 240, adding "when you are able advise when you have airport in sight". A garbled transmission from the crew seemed to indicate that this was not possible. About 19:54 the Departure controller suggested: "Can you make it to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport?". About 19:55 the controller reported that Fort Lauderdale Airport was at "eleven o clock eight miles".
In the mean time, the flight had descended to 900 feet and slowed to140 knots as it flew northbound, parallel to the shoreline and away from Fort Lauderdale. At 700 feet and 150 knots, the airplane initiated a left turn towards shore. The airplane continued its descending left turn until radar contact was lost at 100 feet and 150 knots on a southwesterly heading.
» Miami Herald
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Fort Lauderdale International Airport, FL to Cozumel Airport as the crow flies is 921 km (576 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.