LOS ANGELES (AP) — A small jet that took off from Idaho ran off the runway and into a storage hangar at a Southern California airport on Sunday night, causing the hangar to collapse in flames around it, officials said.
Firefighters were still contending hours later with the smoldering ruins of the building and the plane at Santa Monica Municipal Airport, and had yet to determine how many people were inside the jet, but it was unlikely anyone was alive inside.
"This was an unsurvivable crash," Santa Monica Fire Department Capt. John Nevandro said at a media briefing at the airport.
The twin-engine Cessna Citation that had taken off from Hailey, Idaho, went off the right side of the runway at about 6:20 p.m. and struck the hangar, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The blaze did minor damage to two other buildings and destroyed the hangar.
"It was a total loss," Fire Department spokeswoman Bridgett Lewis said.
News helicopter footage showed all but the tail of the plane trapped under a collapsed section of the small hangar.
Neither aviation nor rescue officials were yet able to say how many people were aboard the plane, nor whether anyone was inside the hangar.
Jets in the Citation series seat between five and nine passengers and two crew members, according to the Cessna website.
A crane would be required to remove the remains of the hangar, and investigators were unlikely to be able to get to the plane until Monday, Gregor said.
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