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Official: Plane Carrying Jenni Rivera, 6 Others Nose-Dived, Hit Ground At 600MPH

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MEXICO CITY (CBS/AP) — Mexico’s top transportation official says a plane carrying Mexican-American music superstar Jenni Rivera plunged almost vertically from more than 28,000 feet and hit the ground in a nose-dive at more than 600 miles an hour.

Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s secretary of communications and transportation, offered the first detailed accounts of the moments leading up to the crash that killed Rivera and six other people aboard the Learjet on Sunday.

Ruiz told Radio Formula that the plane hit the ground 1.2 miles from where it began falling, meaning it plummeted at a nearly 45 degree angle.

He says: “The plane practically nose-dived. The impact must have been terrible.”

KNX1070 reporter Charles Feldman, an aviation expert who has flown small planes for 20 years, said the 28,000 feet fall could indicate some possible causes of the crash.

“One would be some sort of catastrophic failure of the aircraft frame. Another possibility would be the crew, in this case the pilot and the co-pilot, being incapacitated,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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