Two people, “tentatively” identified as the pilot and second-in-command, were killed when a small plane crashed Friday afternoon on Interstate 75 near the Florida city of Naples and collided with a vehicle, authorities said – a wreck that came shortly after a pilot reported an emergency to an air traffic controller.
Five people were onboard the Bombardier Challenger 600 when it crashed around 3:15 p.m. ET, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
On Saturday, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office announced they had “tentatively” identified the victims as pilot Edward Daniel Murphy, 50, of Oakland Park, Florida, and second-in-command Ian Frederick Hofmann, 65, of Pompano Beach, Florida.
Tracking data from FlightAware shows the plane took off from The Ohio State University Airport a little after 1 p.m. and was scheduled to land at Naples Airport before departing for Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
The survivors, who were transported to an area hospital for treatment of their injuries, were named by the sheriff’s office as crew member Sydney Ann Bosmans, 23, of Jupiter, Florida, and passengers Aaron Baker, 35, and Audra Green, 23, both of Columbus, Ohio.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol news release, two vehicles traveling south on Interstate 75 were damaged. The 48-year-old driver of one of the vehicles, a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital. All others in the second vehicle had no injuries.
A witness, Brianna Walker, was driving on I-75 when the plane flew in from behind her, clipped the top of the pickup truck in front of her, contacted the highway and skidded for about 30 feet before it slammed into a concrete wall and burst into flames, she told CNN in a phone interview.
The truck – its roof taken off by the contact – went into a median and flipped over, she said. The driver walked out and “looked OK,” Walker said.
It seemed like the plane’s pilot was trying to land on the highway, Walker said.
“It was unreal. Like a movie,” she said.
An explosion came from the plane about a minute after the crash, according to Walker and video she shared of the scene. The plane was already aflame and emitting thick, black smoke, the video shows.
Motorists stopped to try to help in the moments after the crash, but the explosion that came afterward sent people running, Walker said.
An emergency shortly before the crash
Shortly before aircraft tracking data showing the plane crashed into the highway, a pilot radioed air traffic controllers to report an emergency.
“Lost both engines. Emergency,” the pilot said in transmissions captured by LiveATC.net. “Make an emergency landing.”
An air traffic controller cleared the plane onto the runway and instructed another aircraft to hold short of the runway.
The pilot replied in the last recording heard on that recording from the aircraft: “Cleared to land, but we’re not going make the runway.”
The crash happened on the southbound lanes near Pine Ridge Road, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Those lanes remained closed Saturday during cleanup and investigation.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
CNN’s Jeremy Ryan, Raja Razek and Jillian Sykes contributed to this report.
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