Mystery as millionaire's 'ghost plane' crashes into sea with wife and daughter

The jet plummeted into the sea after flying halfway across Europe without responding to the controller’s calls. Mr Grieseman, a German businessman, is thought to have been flying the plane when it left Spain on Sunday afternoon. According to flight tracker the plane, Austrian registered Cessna 551, spilled out of the air before crashing at around 7.30pm. A spokesperson for Quick Air confirmed Mr Grieseman and three others were on board.

“I can confirm that it was the private jet of our owner, Karl-Peter Griesemann,” the spokesperson added.

The three others were his wife, Juliane, daughter Lisa, 26, and her boyfriend Paul.

The Cologne newspaper Express reported that Mr Griesemann was the pilot of the aircraft, but this has not been confirmed.

The cause of the crash is not yet known but Spain’s air traffic control service ENAIRE said it lost control of the aircraft above Toledo shortly before 3pm, an hour after it took off.

Sweden also confirmed its rescue service, including boats, plans, and a helicopter were sent to the crash site.

A spokesperson said: “We’ve learned that the plane has crashed (in the ocean) north-west of the town of Ventspils in Latvia. It has disappeared from the radar.”

Several other countries also sent services to join the rescue operation including Latvia and Germany.

Swedish search and rescue operation leader Lars Antonsson claimed the plane crashed “when it ran out of fuel”.

“We have no explanation at all, we can only speculate” about what happened “but they were clearly incapacitated on board,” Antonsson said.

Latvia’s search and rescue head, Peteris Subbota, told Latvian television that no passengers had been found.

Mr Griesemann is a prominent figure in Cologne, the largest city in western Germany, playing a role in the deeply Catholic city’s annual carnival celebrations.