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Small jet crashes into hangar

September 30, 2013|Laura Nelson
  • Firefighters battle blaze at Santa Monica Airport. The fire was started when a small jet veered off the runway and crashed into a hangar. The fire spread to two other buildings.
Firefighters battle blaze at Santa Monica Airport. The fire was started… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles…)

A business jet that landed at Santa Monica Airport on Sunday evening veered off the runway before crashing into a nearby hangar and starting a fire that destroyed one building and spread to two others, authorities said.

A Santa Monica Fire Department official at the scene told reporters that there could not have been any survivors.

The twin-engine Cessna, which records indicate is registered to a Malibu resident, burst into flames, and the storage hangar caught fire, officials said. The hangar later collapsed.

"The wreckage is severe and the fire is severe," said Sgt. Robert Villegas of the Santa Monica Police Department.

Fire officials said the flames burned hotter than normal because jet fuel was involved. The temperatures and the collapsed hangar prevented officials from accessing the wreckage or seeing the plane's tail number, sources told The Times. That made it more difficult to look up the plane's flight record or identify those on board.

Six fire engines and four ambulances arrived at the scene, said Fire Department spokeswoman Bridgett Lewis.

The jet was coming from Hailey, Idaho, near Sun Valley, and is registered to a real estate company, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. The plane had made eight flights since Sept. 15, according to flight tracking websites, including four between Hailey and Santa Monica.

The flames, which spread to two nearby structures and burned for hours after the crash, were extinguished late Sunday night, authorities said. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation at the scene.

The airport borders a Santa Monica neighborhood, and residents there said they heard the crash and smelled smoke from the blaze.

Jack Bonner, 15, said the crash sounded like a "loud thunderclap."

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laura.nelson@latimes.com

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