FOUR people are feared dead in a plane crash after the aircraft flew erratically across Europe before coming down in the sea.
NATO scrambled jets after air traffic controllers couldn't make contact with the plane when it mysteriously changed course but pilots were unable to see anyone on board.
The jet was flying between Spain and Cologne but changed course and finally came down in the sea off Latvia.
The plane took off around 1pm from Jerez in southern Spain but soon reported problems with the cabin's pressurisation, Bild reports.
According to reports in Denmark, Sweden and Spain German entrepreneur Peter Griesemann, 72, was at the controls.
His 68-year-old wife Juliane, daughter Lisa, 26, and her 27-year-old boyfriend were also on board, reports Aftonbladet.
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The plane turned twice, at Paris and Cologne, before heading straight out over the Baltic, passing near the Swedish island of Gotland.
Fighter jets from Germany, Denmark and Sweden were then scrambled to try to make contact with the crew in the air as the plane kept flying.
The aircraft continued to fly "but they saw no one", said the Swedish search and rescue operation leader Lars Antonsson.
Johan Wahlstrom of the Swedish Maritime Administration confirmed the fighter pilots were unable to make contact saying: "They could not see anyone in the cockpit."
The plane flew relatively steadily until it neared the Latvian coast, when it rapidly lost altitude and crashed "when it ran out of fuel",he explained.
The Austrian-registered Cessna 551 aircraft with flight number OE-FGR is believed to have been privately rented.
At 5.37pm it was listed on the flight tracker as rapidly losing speed and altitude.
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The plane was understood to be carrying a family, German
"We've learned that the plane has crashed (in the ocean) north-west of the town of Ventspils in Latvia," a spokesperson for Sweden's rescue service said. "It has disappeared from the radar."
A Lithuanian air force helicopter was dispatched to the crash site to carry out a search and rescue operation, a spokesperson said.
Latvian authorities also sent ships to the scene.
"Our ships are on the way to the position where the plane crash happened," said Liva Veita, spokesperson of the Latvian Navy.
A Stena Line ferry travelling from Ventspils to Norvik in Sweden was also redirected to the crash site, according to the MarineTraffic website.
The website showed a Swedish search and rescue helicopter and airplane at the site as well.
A fighter aircraft from the NATO Baltic Air Police mission in Amari airfield in Estonia had earlier taken off to follow the plane.
Aviation security expert Hans Kjäll told the Swedish news agency TT that pressure problems could have caused passengers to lose consciousness.
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The company listed as the aircraft’s owner is GG Rent.
The Sun has contacted the firm for comment.
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