4 People Now Reported Killed In Santa Monica Hangar Jet Crash - New York News

4 People Now Reported Killed In Santa Monica Hangar Jet Crash

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Santa Monica, CA -

It was a somber scene as one by one, a convoy of LA County Coroner's vans and trucks drove slowly out of Santa Monica Airport.

Inside the vans, the remains of four people that had been aboard the Cessna that crashed here Sunday evening.

Four lives lost…just like that.

And then there were the pets. Two cats and one large dog, the assistant coroner told me. Their remains also found on the plane. Obviously they were loved…so much so, they got to go away to Idaho too. Or maybe they lived in Idaho and were coming here to visit.

Seven lives lost…just like that.

Officially, the coroner has not released any names yet but in a statement on their website, Morley Builders of Santa Monica say it was their CEO Mark Benjamin and his son Lucas, a Senior Project Engineer at the firm, who were two of the victims. The plane belonged to Benjamin.

October 1, 2013

We are heartbroken at the loss of Mark Benjamin and his son Lucas in a tragic accident. Mark has been our President and CEO since 1981 and Luke was a Senior Project Engineer. We are proud to be associated with the Company that Mark's family founded. He had a profound influence on each of our employees, the Southern California landscape, our local community, and the construction industry. We are committed to building on his legacy.

Issued by Charles Muttillo, Vice President

And I am sure that while we don't know their names yet, the families and friends of the two women also aboard must know by now too. So sad.

Years ago, I lost a very dear friend in a similar crash. Edison was the longtime director of my talk show on the Telemundo Network and I was blessed to also call him my "amigo".

Edison was aboard a Cessna when it crashed and subsequently exploded, killing him and his girlfriend, their dog and the pilot. Another friend, one of my cameramen, who had been aboard was thrown from the plane moments before the explosion and thanks to that, survived.

One Friday Edison was here; the next day he wasn't. We were all devastated.

And try as hard as I did, I couldn't help but imagine the horror they lived thru those last moments.

It was so hard losing a friend; I can't even imagine the pain of losing a family member so as that slow-moving procession passed by I said a silent prayer for all of them….all seven.

And one for Edison too. 


(FOX 11 / CNS) The remains of four people were recovered today from the wreckage of a private jet that crashed and burned at Santa Monica Airport on Sunday, authorities said

"We recovered four sets of human remains,'' said coroner's Chief Craig Harvey. Harvey said officials have been notified that four people were aboard the airplane, and efforts were being made to positively identify those who died. There were no survivors.

The twin-engine Cessna Citation, which had  had taken off in Hailey, Idaho, slammed into a hangar after veering off the runway around 6:20 p.m. Sunday, causing the structure to collapse and sparking an explosive fire that spread to two other hangars.

On Monday, it was reported that the president of a Santa Monica-based construction company and his adult son were aboard the private jet. In a statement on the website of Santa Monica-based Morley Builders, company vice president Charles Muttillo said, in part: "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 cause of the crash was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. According to Van McKenny of the NTSB, "there was no communication (from) the pilot indicating there was a problem with the aircraft at any time during the flight.''

Crews had to shore up the roof of the hangar before workers could enter the structure and examine the fuselage of the airplane. That task was accomplished by late Monday night, and coroner's investigators were able to recover the bodies after daybreak this morning, Harvey said.

The airport remained closed today.
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