Private aircraft crashes in Baltic Sea
A Cessna Citation 551 that crashed off the coast of Latvia on Sunday was carrying German businessman Karl-Peter Griesemann and three other individuals, his company, Quick Air confirmed.
The Austrian-registered Cessna (tail reg: OE-FGR) was flying from Jerez, Spain, where it took off at 12:56GMT, reportedly destined for Cologne, Germany.
Th aircraft twice altered course, at Paris and Cologne, before heading out over the Baltic, passing near the Swedish island of Gotland. At 17:37GMT the Cessna was listed on the FlightRadar24 as rapidly losing speed and altitude.
“We’ve learned that the plane has crashed north-west of the town of Ventspils in Latvia,” a spokesperson for Sweden’s rescue service said. “It has disappeared from the radar.”
German and Danish military aircraft had been sent to inspect the aircraft as it passed through those countries’ airspace, but were unable to make contact, Johan Wahlstrom of the Swedish Maritime Administration said.
“They could not see anyone in the cockpit,” Wahlstrom said.
However, some media outlets have reported that whilst nothing but a bag was visible on the seat in the cockpit a person could be seen gesturing from a cabin window.
“I can confirm that it was the private jet of our owner, Karl-Peter Griesemann,” said a spokesperson for Quick Air, an air charter company based in Cologne. Griesemann and three others were onboard the plane, the spokesperson added.
A Cologne-based newspaper, Express reported that Griesemann was the pilot and that he was accompanied by his wife, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend.
A Lithuanian air force helicopter was dispatched to the crash site for search and rescue, whilst Latvia said it had sent ships to the scene.
A Stena Line ferry travelling from Ventspils to Norvik in Sweden was also redirected to the crash site, according to MarineTraffic.
A Lithuanian air force spokesperson also said that fighter aircraft from the NATO Baltic Air Police mission in Amari, Estonia had taken off to follow the Cessna 551.
According to AMSTAT, the aircraft is owned by Cologne-registered GG Rent. Corporate Jet Investor has reached out to GG Rent for comment.
The cause of the crash is not yet known.