Pilot Unconscious Before Citation Crash


It would appear pilot incapacitation was behind the fatal crash of a Cessna Citation in the Atlantic 300 miles east of Fort Lauderdale on May 24. The aircraft inexplicably changed course while on a delivery flight from Alton, Illinois, to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The preliminary report from the NTSB says that as the Citation headed over the ocean, two Air Force F-15s were dispatched to intercept it and they discovered the pilot, Gonzalez Mejia, slumped over the controls and apparently unconscious. They watched helplessly as the plane ran out of fuel and dropped into the water. Neither the aircraft nor the pilot was found.

Mejia had been contracted to fly the plane to its new owner in Fort Lauderdale. He had more than 9,000 hours. Officials are looking into his medical history but without his body or the aircraft it’s unlikely a precise cause will be determined. The final report will take about 18 months.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • Ever try to gather a group of professionals from every walk in life to determine fault with everyone agreeing? Read a NTSB report if you’re a pilot. Find any report that’s related to your flying abilities and aircraft you’re familiar with and compare your abilities to similar aircraft flown in clear or poor weather, forget to preflight, flown into imc when not rated for ifr, take drugs against FAA regulations or without consulting your FAA physician, flying an unapproved aircraft, etc. While I don’t like the time it takes, I’m impressed with the final report covering everything to eliminate second guessing. No armchair quarterbacks during investigations.