Cessna Citation private plane crashes in the Baltic Sea

On Sunday September 4, 2022, a Cessna Citation 551, registration OE-FGR crashed in the Baltic Sea under mysterious circumstances. The private jet was carrying four people from Jerez Airport (XRY/LEJR) in Spain to Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN/EDDK) in Germany. At approximately 2:56 p.m. local time (12:56 UTC), the aircraft took off from runway 20 at Jerez and continued to climb on its filed route as usual.

The doomed plane continues on its normal route before the disaster. Photo: Flightradar24

The problems begin

Shortly after takeoff, the crew reported to Spanish air traffic control that there was a cabin pressure problem. Shortly before the Citation aircraft entered French airspace, contact with the aircraft was lost. French and Spanish fighter jets were dispatched to intercept Jet 551 to see why it was not responding to calls from air traffic control. None of the fighter pilots could see anyone inside the cockpit.

The aircraft involved in the incident is similar to this Photo: lukasz S.

mid-flight

French fighter planes escorted the Citation into German airspace. It was obvious that the plane was on autopilot the whole time, because when the plane approached its destination of Cologne, it did not descend. Instead, it continued to fly directly over the airport at its cruising altitude of 36,000 feet. German fighter jets escorted the “ghost” aircraft until it entered Danish airspace. The last fighter jets, Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) F-16s, would escort the now doomed aircraft and observe the plane until it began to spiral out of control and crash just outside. outside Latvian airspace.

The crash

At 17:30 UTC, the Cessna Citation 551, which had presumably been flying on autopilot since the aircraft lost contact with ATC, began to lose speed and altitude. It was at this time that the plane probably ran out of fuel. About 14 minutes later, at 17:44 UTC, the plane disappeared from radar and crashed into the sea 15 kilometers off the Latvian coast. His last position indicated the aircraft was at 2100 feet and spiraling at -8000 feet per minute.

The plane’s spiral was visible on radar.

Consequences

After the accident, the Swedish Coast Guard was deployed in the area of ​​the accident site. Debris and oil stains were found floating in the water. “The chances of finding survivors are slim,” said Lars Antonsson of the Sea and Air Rescue Center. A Stena Line-owned passenger ship, MF Urd, which was en route to Sweden when the accident happened, diverted to the site to help with search and rescue operations.

The MF Urd vessel participated in search and rescue operations. Photo: Stena Line

About 12 hours after the accident, the identity of those on board was revealed. The pilot of the Citation 551 Jet was 72-year-old German entrepreneur Peter Griesemann. He was flying with his 68-year-old wife, Juliane, as well as his 26-year-old daughter and 27-year-old friend.

Possible causes

The most likely cause at this time appears to be depressurization of the aircraft, as the crew of the Citation jet reported having pressurization problems after takeoff. At an altitude of 36,000 feet, a few minutes of depressurization at such high altitudes can cause dizziness and fainting due to lack of oxygen and cabin pressure. Only the official investigation will reveal exactly what caused the crash of this plane.

Kevin A. Perras