'Mechanical issue' diverts flight bringing DeSantis to South Florida

Florida House leader says new governor needs a new plane

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A plane transporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to South Florida was forced to make an emergency landing early Friday afternoon in St. Petersburg.

The flight was destined for Broward County, where DeSantis is expected to announce the firing of Sheriff Scott Israel over his agency’s response to the Parkland mass shooting last February.

Dave Vasquez, the governor’s spokesman, said the flight crew had to divert the plane after encountering what he described as an unspecified mechanical issue. Little else was released.

DeSantis, Chief of Staff Shane Strum, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and three members of the governor's executive staff were on board the plane at the time.

“Everyone on board is safe and we expect to be in Broward County later this afternoon,” Vasquez said.

Florida House leader: New governor needs a new plane

A top legislative leader wants the state to buy a new plane for DeSantis after the scare.

Florida used to have two planes that could be used by state officials, but former Gov. Rick Scott ordered them sold. Scott, a multimillionaire, instead used his own personal jet to travel.

DeSantis this week was using a plane that belonged to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and was seized during a drug bust.

Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva said the size of the state and Friday's incident shows the need for DeSantis to have "safe and reliable means of transportation."