Number killed in fiery business jet crash in California still unknown

Sept. 30, 2013 at 11:35 PM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A construction company executive and his son were believed to have died in a fiery crash of a business jet at the Santa Monica, Calif., airport, the firm said.

While authorities had yet to determine how many people were killed when the twin-engine Cessna Citation crashed into a hangar Sunday evening, about 6:20 p.m. Sunday, Morley Construction said on its website Monday company Chief Executive Officer Mark Benjamin, 63, and his son, Luke, 28, were believed to have been on board the small jet, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We are aware of a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport last night. While we do not have specific facts, we believe that our president and CEO, Mark Benjamin, and his son, Luke Benjamin, a senior project engineer with us were on board," the company said.

No bodies had been recovered from the charred wreckage.

The plane, which had taken off from Hailey, Idaho, veered off a runway and hit a hangar, setting both the jet and the hangar on fire, the Times said.

The hangar collapsed, and two other buildings were damaged.

The Cessna jet had a seating capacity for eight people. Officials said they were waiting for a crane to lift pieces of the hangar off the aircraft so they could determine the number of victims.

"It was an unsurvivable crash," CNN quoted Capt. John Nevandro of the Santa Monica Fire Department as saying.

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