Santa Monica Airport jet crash: 4 people, 2 cats, 1 dog killed

L.A. County coroner’s officials say they will need to use dental records to confirm the identities of four people killed in Sunday’s jet crash at Santa Monica Airport.

The bodies of four people were pulled from a twin-engine Cessna Citation on Tuesday morning. The private jet touched down at Santa Monica Airport on Sunday evening, then steered hard right off the runway and smashed into an airport hangar before bursting into flames.

The crash collapsed the hangar and the fire spread to two neighboring buildings. No one on board survived.

The bodies were charred beyond recognition so the coroner’s office needs dental records to confirm the identities of the victims, Lt. Fred Corral said.


Two of the victims were unofficially identified Monday when Los Angeles-based construction company Morley Builders announced its chief executive, Mark Benjamin, 63, and his son, Luke, 28, were believed to have been on the plane.

The two other passengers were women, according to KABC-TV.

The coroner also recovered the remains of two cats and a dog on board, Corral said.

The airport has been shut down since the crash. But the transportation hub could be reopened to air traffic by Tuesday afternoon, acting airport manager Stelios Makrides told The Times.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board – the federal agency overseeing the crash investigation – were unavailable for comment Tuesday because of the government shutdown.

Agency officials told reporters Monday that it was too early to tell what caused the plane to veer hard-right off the runway after touching down.

The pilot had not communicated any problems during the flight, the NTSB said. Investigators hoped the plane’s voice recorder could shed light on what went wrong.



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