4 Bodies Removed From Wreckage of Santa Monica Plane Crash

The twin-engine Cessna Citation veered off the runway after landing Sunday

View Comments (


    The bodies of two men and two women were removed Tuesday from a jet that crashed into a hangar Sunday at Santa Monica Airport. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday Oct. 1, 2013.

    Four bodies were recovered Tuesday morning from under a hangar that collapsed in a fiery plane crash at Santa Monica Airport, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.

    The twin-engine Cessna Citation veered off the runway after landing Sunday and crashed into a storage hangar. The burning wreckage sent a column of black smoke over the airport as the metal hangar collapsed around the plane.

    Responding fire officials described the crash and fire as "unsurvivable."

    The coroner's office determined the remains were those of two men and two women. Two cats and two dogs also were aboard the plane.

    Family and Friends Mourn Pilot and Son of Santa Monica Crash

    [LA] Family and Friends Mourn Pilot and Son of Santa Monica Crash
    Mark Benjamin and his son Lucas were victims in a small plane crash at Santa Monica Airport on Sunday night. Friends remain in shock of their sudden passing while photos Lucas posted on social network sites remind them of their love of private jet journeys. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Santa Monica for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2013.

    A statement released Monday by a Southern California construction contracting company said the firm's CEO and his son were aboard the plane. The statement from Morely Builders identified the two people as CEO Mark Benjamin and his son, Luke Benjamin, a senior project engineer with the Santa Monica-based company.

    The company is behind some high-profile buildings in Southern California, including the new shuttle Endeavour wing at the California Science Center, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles and the Getty Villa Museum.

    The statement did not indicate whether there were others aboard the plane.

    Federal aviation investigators are expected to continue the probe Tuesday at the airport. Crews used a crane Monday to lift the roof of the hangar, allowing investigators to access the plane. A forklift and other heavy duty equipment was used to remove the plane wreckage Tuesday morning. 

    The wreckage will be transported to another location for the followup investigation.

    Officials did not have a timeline regarding completion of the investigation. Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter told NBC4 that the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday might force the NTSB to suspend its investigation.

    NTSB officials said there is "an indication" the plane had a cockpit voice recorder. The pilot did not indicate there was a problem with the plane and authorities could not confirm Monday that the landing gear's tire was damaged during the landing, NTSB officials said.

    More Southern California Stories:

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts