Sept. 4 (BP) — A private Cessna plane crashed into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Latvia on Sunday after NATO scrambled jets to follow the aircraft, officials said.
The plane, registered in Austria, took off from Jerez in southern Spain around 12:56 p.m. GMT and was supposed to land in Cologne, Germany, the Danish newspaper Bild reported.
The plane reported cabin pressure problems shortly after takeoff and officials lost contact with the plane after it left the Iberian Peninsula.
Fighter jets first took off from Spain and France to assess the situation but the pilots could not see anyone inside the cockpit or cabin, Bild reported. A man, woman and their daughter were believed to have been onboard as well as a pilot.
When the Cessna passed Cologne, where it was intended to land, two Eurofighter jets took off from the Rostock-Laage Airport in Germany but were also unable to determine what was happening inside the Cessna and turned off after Rügen.
Denmark then sent an F16 fighter jet to escort the Cessna and the pilots saw it spin and crash off Latvia around 7:45 p.m., Bild reported.
Before the plane crashed, it briefly entered Swedish air space, according to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Sweden’s Maritime and Air Rescue Center told Dagens Nyheter that a rescue helicopter found the wreckage and an oil slick in the water and that there were not expected to be survivors from the crash.
A spokesperson for the Lithuanian Air Force told the Mirror that NATO aircraft also took off from the NATO Baltic Air Police mission in Amari airfield in Estonia.