A private jet with four people on board crashed into the Baltic Sea off Latvia after flying halfway across Europe from Spain without responding to calls from air-traffic controllers on Sunday.
On board was Karl-Peter Giesemann, a prominent German businessman, and his family, a spokesman for his company, Quick Air, a Cologne-based air charter company, told reporters.
The Cessna 551 took off from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain at 2:56 p.m. local time. Its destination was Cologne.
Instead of landing at its destination, the Austrian-registered aircraft continued past Flughafen Köln/Bonn Konrad Adenauer.
Fighter jets from Germany, Denmark, and Sweden were scrambled to attempt contact with the plane’s pilots as it continued to fly across northern Europe, “but they saw no one,” Swedish search and rescue operation leader Lars Antonsson told AFP.
The plane flew over Swedish airspace before crashing into the Baltic Sea off Ventspils just before 8:00 p.m. local time. It apparently crashed when it ran out of fuel, officials said.
The Cologne newspaper Express said that Griesemann was the pilot, adding that he had been accompanied by his wife, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend. While search-and-rescue teams located at least three parts of the aircraft, they reported that no human remains were found.
Griesemann was a prominent figure in Cologne, the largest city in Nordrhein-Westfalen. In addition to his business operations, he was known for playing a major role in the Kölner Karneval, the city’s annual carnival celebration that takes place in earnest before the start of Lent.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)