A twin-engine Cessna Citation crashed at Santa Monica Airport tonight, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told LA Weekly.
The plane was landing when it went off the right side of the runway and struck a hangar about 6:20 p.m., he said. Photos from the scene (see one on the next page) depict a destructive-looking eruption of smoke:Gregor said it wasn't yet clear how many people were on board or whether they were injured or deceased. The plane departed from Hailey, Idaho en route to Santa Monica, he said. The aircraft's tail number was unavailable.
Cessna Citation is a multimillion-dollar twin-engine "business jet" that seats 5 to 9 people, depending on the model. [Update at 10:06 p.m.]: Santa Monica fire Capt. John Nevandro told reporters at the scene that it was "an un-survivable crash." He said rescuers were not yet able to get into the plane or the hanger it crashed into. The structure collapsed onto the the plane, making rescue and recovery efforts difficult, it appears. [Update at 11:33 p.m.]: The FlightAware flight-tracking website appears to have tracked a Santa Monica-bound plane from Idaho that landed at the Westside airport at 6:20. That plane is an 8-seat, 2003 Cessna registered to CREX-MML LLC, a real estate company that business sites connect to an address in the 30300 block of Morning View Drive in Malibu. According to state records, that company's chief agent is Mark Benjamin. A February, 2000 article by the Los Angeles Times on the death of developer Morley Benjamin noted that he had a son named Mark who was taking over the father's business -- it handled projects that included downtown L.A.'s Library Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River -- and that the younger Benjamin was "also handling the renovation of the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu." Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.
FAA confirms twin-engine Cessna Citation plane crash at Santa Monica Airport. pic.twitter.com/DgmLzLhgIg— Pablo Pereira (@PabloWeather) September 30, 2013