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Photos, Video: No Survivors After Small Jet Crashes Into Hangar At Santa Monica Airport [UPDATED]
The fiery crash of a jet into a hangar at Santa Monica Airport Sunday night was declared "unsurvivable" by officials.
The small jet, which took off from Hailey, Idaho, crashed into a storage hangar at the airport; the flames were so intense it caused the roof of the building to collapse, the Associated Press reports.
Firefighters hadn't yet determined how many people were on board but Santa Monica Fire Department Capt. John Nevandro told the press at a media briefing, "This was an unsurvivable crash."
The Fire Department dispatched six fire engines, spokeswoman Bridgett Lewis said. Although four ambulances were also sent, there was no survivors taken to the hospital, according to the LA Times.
Huge, black clouds of smoke were visible for some distance from the airport as firefighters worked for hours to put out the flames. "It was a total loss," Lewis said of the hangar. Two neighboring buildings also suffered minor damage.
The plane, a twin-engine Cessna Citation 525A, ran off the runway at about 6:20 p.m. and struck the hangar, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told media outlets.
The jet is registered to a Malibu address and its corporate owner, Creative Real Estate Exchange, is based in Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, according to FAA public records.
The plane had made four recent trips to Hailey airport, which serves Idaho's Sun Valley resort area, the Times reports.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
There was a crash of a small plane near Santa Monica airport. Latest soon from @lanow . PHOTO by @JackBonner12 pic.twitter.com/Pk03QZuGtK— L.A. Times: L.A. Now (@LANow) September 30, 2013
#BREAKING Officials say there are no survivors in Santa Monica Airport plane crash. No word of how many people were on board.— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) September 30, 2013
UPDATE, 12:14 P.M., The victims of the crash have been tentatively identified as Mark Benjamin, and his son, Luke Benjamin of Morley Builders. Mark Benjamin was the president of the Santa Monica-based construction company and he and his son apparently were aboard the private jet that crashed at Santa Monica Airport Sunday evening.
According to a statement on the company's web site, company vice president Charles Muttillo said: "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. We are unable to issue a further statement at this time.'' (The site was down when we tried to access it.)
The final count of passengers and identification cannot be made until until the rubble on the aircraft is removed, authorities told City News Service.
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