SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — No problems were reported before a private jet crashed into a hangar and burst into flames while landing at a Southern California airport, a federal investigator said Monday.
The pilot of the Cessna 525A did not report any mechanical trouble with the aircraft during its Sunday flight from Idaho to Santa Monica, Van McKenny, lead investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference.
Mark Benjamin, CEO of Morley Construction, and his son, Luke Benjamin, were believed to be aboard the aircraft, Vice President Charles Muttillo told The Associated Press. Luke Benjamin was a senior project manager at the Santa Monica-based company.
It was not known if anyone else was aboard. The plane was designed to hold eight passengers and two crew members.
While the hangar had yet to be examined because the structure collapsed, it appeared nobody on the ground was hurt.
Investigators called in two cranes to lift the wrecked building off the plane before they tried to retrieve remains and the cockpit voice recorder, McKenny said.
The twin-engine jet took off from Hailey, Idaho, and landed at Santa Monica Municipal Airport at about 6:20 p.m. Sunday.
"There was no communication with the pilot indicting there's a problem with the aircraft at any time during the flight," McKenny said.
After touching down, "he veered off the right side of the runway and then as he continued down, the turn got sharper and sharper," McKenny said.
The plane crashed into a row of five connected hangars about 400 feet from the end of the 5,000-foot runway, where it caught fire.
One hangar collapsed, its steel trusses crossing over the plane and the sheet metal shell wrapping around it, McKenny said. Two other hangars received minor damage.
Fire crews responded quickly because their station was almost directly behind the accident site. Still, "this was an unsurvivable crash," Santa Monica Fire Department Capt. John Nevandro said Sunday night.
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