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Audio Captures Final Moments Prior to San Diego Jet Crash

Jet Crash
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Audio from a crashed jet was released to the public yesterday.  The jet went down near the city limits of San Diego.  The air traffic control audio from the crash is particularly chilling, revealing the pilot exclaiming “Oh s–t! Oh s–t!” just prior to the crash.  The crash killed all four individuals on board. 

Details of the Crash

The jet in question was a Learjet 35A business plane.  This twin-engine jet seats upward of eight individuals.  The plane disintegrated immediately upon impact after falling from the sky in El Cajon’s Bostonia area.  According to the Times of San Diego, the crash occurred around 7 in the evening on Monday, December 27th.  FlightAware.com reports the downed plane was registered to El Cajon’s Med Jet LLC, an air ambulance business.

The Aftermath of the Crash

The plane crashed onto a suburban street, leaving a fiery mess for the fire department, first responders, and police to clean up.  Authorities and several news reports state the crash also knocked out power to hundreds of San Diego-area homes.  Rick Breitenfeldt, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, stated none of the four individuals on the jet survived.  His comments about the crash were made to Fox 5 San Diego.  

The Chilling Audio

Fox 5 San Diego posted the audio of the jet crash as provided by air traffic.  The audio captured the entirety of the final minute of the jet’s time in the air.  Air traffic controllers had cleared the jet’s pilot to safely land on runway #17.  However, the private jet ended up crashing in a nearby residential neighborhood, a couple miles away from the airport.  

It is particularly interesting to note the pilot of the jet informed air traffic controllers in the tower that he desired to use visual flight rules.  The pilot also requested permission to land on a different runway.  To be more specific, the pilot requested to land on runway #27 as opposed to runway #17.

The air traffic controller interacting with the pilot confirmed the inquiry, stating the request to cancel the instrument flight rules had been received.  The air traffic controller stated the pilot could overfly the field, “…make left traffic, Runway 27 Right, Runway 27 Right, clear to land.”  

However, the pilot did not successfully land his jet.  You can listen to the spine-tingling audio leading up to the crash by clicking here.

What Caused the Crash?

At this time, authorities are uncertain as to what, exactly, caused the jet to crash.  It is clear something went terribly wrong when the plane’s pilot was attempting to land amidst rainy conditions.  It is possible the pilot lost sight of his targeted runway at Gillespie Field.  There is also a chance the plane was struck by lightning.  However, the fact that the pilot is heard yelling out expletives just prior to the crash makes it clear that he was aware of a problem with the plane prior to the crash or that he saw especially stormy weather ahead.  

A radio-controlled plane specialist posted video footage from a Nest camera to the web after the accident.  The footage reveals the jet exploded into a flash of light.  The witness stated that he and his wife heard a thunderous noise.  It is quite possible a bolt of lightning struck the plane and caused it to explode upon impact.  It is also possible a mechanical issue, possibly with one of the engines, caused the plane to explode.  

The fact that the eyewitness saw a large flash of light makes aviation experts believe a lightning strike is the most likely cause of the crash.  However, the fire department personnel who responded to the accident state hardly anything is left of the plane, meaning it will be difficult to piece together the puzzle of why the accident occurred.

Additional Eyewitness Reports

San Diego resident Nanci Watt was in her home near the location of the crash when the jet fell out of the sky.  She states the ensuing power outage caused everything to go black in a split second.  Watt quickly called her husband and son after the power outage.  She also states there was a large fire by her home resulting from the crash.  The flames were so expansive that Watt was forced to evacuate.  

Aside from the details pertaining to the power outage and the eyewitness statements as detailed above, little else is known about the crash.  The ensuing investigation will be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA.  However, neither of these agencies has revealed the identities of anyone involved in the crash.  

The FAA’s first investigator is scheduled to arrive at the scene of the crash on Tuesday morning.  Two additional investigators will make their way to the crash site later in the day.  Local authorities will also reveal the victims’ identities, likely at some point on Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

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