Autopsies scheduled for victims of Santa Monica Airport jet crash
Autopsies are scheduled for Thursday on four people killed in a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said.
The four died in a fiery wreck at the airport Sunday evening when the twin-engine Cessna Citation they were riding in touched down on the runway then veered hard right and smashed into an airport hangar, bursting into flames and collapsing the building.
Coroner’s officials said they would confirm the identities of the victims using dental records because of the condition of the bodies.
Los Angeles-based construction company Morley Builders announced that its chief executive, 63-year-old Mark Benjamin, and his 28-year-old son, Luke, a senior project engineer, were on board and died in the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board started an investigation the night of the crash and began inspecting the plane Monday. But investigators have paused their inquiry because of the partial federal government shutdown that began Tuesday.
Before suspending its inquiry, the agency moved the wreckage to a secure site, where it will be stored until the investigation can resume.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) asked Deborah A.P. Hersman, who heads the National Transportation Safety Board, to broaden the agency’s investigation beyond determining the cause of Sunday evening’s crash. He asked that the agency look into residents’ concerns about safety for the airport’s neighbors. Hersman said she would take Waxman’s request under advisement.
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