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Plane Carrying Singer Jenni Rivera Did Nose Dive at 600MPH

At a vigil for Jenni Rivera in Long Beach, December 10, 2012 (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images Entertainment)
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Today, as relatives of the late "banda" singer Jenni Rivera left Los Angeles to travel to northern Mexico to see the crash site and provide DNA samples for testing, comes word from transport officials offering the first details of the crash that killed Rivera and six others Sunday.

Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s secretary of communications and transportation said the Learjet LJ25 "plunged almost vertically from more than 28,000 feet and hit the ground in a nose-dive at more than 600 miles an hour," according to the Associated Press. Ruiz added that the plane "hit the ground 1.2 miles from where it began falling, meaning it plummeted at a nearly 45 degree angle."

The plane went down near Iturbide, Nuevo Leon, which is about 60 miles from Monterrey, Mexico. The private jet bound for Toluca (just outside Mexico City) reportedly took off from Monterrey at around 3:15 am, but it lost contact with air traffic controllers. The plane was carrying Rivera, her lawyer, her publicist, her hairstylist, and her make-up artist. All five passengers, along with the plane's two pilots, perished in the crash, which happened just 15 minutes after take-off.

Wreckage was strewn over a large area, according to City News Service. Among the debris was Rivera's driver's license.

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One of Rivera's brothers, Juan Rivera, speaking at a news conference at the family's Lakewood home Monday, said he clings to the hope that she is alive and will do so until he has confirmation that her body has been recovered. However, the NTSB confirmed Monday that Rivera and the others did not survive the horrific crash.

Today, Mexican authorities began performing DNA tests on what are thought to be Rivera's remains, but caution it could take days to complete the process, reports L.A. Now.

Fans have been gathering outside the 43-year-old Long Beach native's Encino home, and vigils have been held all over the Southland for the popular singing star.