US Coast Guard search for three people after Learjet crashes into ocean

US Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk
Kate Scott /

Search and rescue crews in the United States (US) are continuing to look for three missing people after a US Navy contract Phoenix Air Learjet crashed.  

Plane wreckage was found near San Clemente Island, off the coast of southern California, after the aircraft plunged into the Pacific Ocean at about 7:55am, local time, on Wednesday, May 11, 2023.  

The Coast Guard, US Navy and US Customs and Border Protection are all participating in the search after the aircraft reportedly took off from Point Mugu, which is part of Naval Base Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. 

Watchstanders at the Joint Harbor Operations Center in San Diego received the initial report of a downed aircraft from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC) San Clemente Island. 

The FACSFAC reported that there was an emergency onboard a Phoenix Learjet and that the aircraft didn’t make it to the runway. 

“A US Navy Phoenix Air Learjet was in the area and began immediately searching the debris field. A Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft and USS San Diego diverted after hearing the emergency broadcast and began searching the area as well,” a spokesperson for the coast guard said. 

They added: “An MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew from Coast Guard Sector San Diego was launched and immediately vectored toward the debris field.” 

According to the Los Angeles Times, a spokesperson for Naval Base Ventura County said the aircraft was a non-military plane which lost contact with air traffic controllers about a mile from San Clemente Island. 

The spokesperson said the Navy uses small aircraft that are contracted for shuttle flights. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced it would investigate the crash.


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