MIAMI, May 11 -- An Atlanta-bound ValuJet airliner with 109 people on board crashed into the Florida Everglades eight minutes after takeoff Saturday, apparently killing everyone on board, authorities said. Coast Guard and airport officials said there were no signs of survivors in the marshy area 15 miles northwest of the Miami airport.
'We don't think there are any survivors,' said airport spokeswoman Lauren Gail. 'It doesn't look too good right now.' The DC-9 aircraft with 104 passengers and five crew members took off from Miami International Airport shortly before 2 p.m. EDT and went down eight minutes later in a swampy area on the edge of the Everglades, officials said. Christy Williams, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta, said the pilot of the plane reported smoke in the cockpit about 100 miles northwest of the airport at 2:13 p.m. and tried to return to Miami when the airliner went down. Rescue work was hampered because the swampy area was accessible only from the air and airboats. 'The swamp area is inaccessible by foot. The only way we can get people and equipment out there is by helicopter,' said Coast Guard Lt. Chris Hollingshead. Coast Guard helicopters searched the area where Flight 592 went down and local authorities rushed airboats to the site. Wreckage was visible on the surface of the water but there was no sign of the plane. 'Nothing could have survived that...it was a 75 degree bank angle down,' Daniel Muelhaupt, a pilot who said he saw the crash, told Cable News Network. 'Nobody could survive that.' ValuJet is a discount airline that serves several Southern and East Coast cities from its hub in Atlanta.