SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — A city council member is calling for the permanent closure of Santa Monica Airport after a fatal crash killed at least two people Sunday.
A twin-engine Cessna Citation went off the runway, collided with a runway sign and crashed into a hangar around 6:20 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The hangar collapsed on the plane, which then caught on fire. Authorities said the blaze, which spread to two nearby hangars, burned at unusually high temperatures due to jet fuel. As a result, an unknown number of aircraft and vehicles were damaged.
Officials called the crash “unsurvivable.”
Two cranes are being used to to remove steel trusses and sheet metal that collapsed on the plane’s fuselage, according to Van McKenny of the NTSB. The plane remains buried in the wreckage of the hangar.
“It’s unacceptable,” said City Councilman Mike Bonin. “If this were an intersection in the city of Los Angeles we wouldn’t be allowing these kind of incidents.”
Charles Muttillo, Vice President of Morley Builders, issued a statement Monday about who might have been onboard:
“We are aware of a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport last night. While we do not have specific facts, we believe that our President and CEO, Mark Benjamin, and his son, Luke Benjamin, a Senior Project Engineer with us were on board. We are unable to issue a further statement at this time. We will provide you with more updates as soon as we learn of them. Thank you.”
The aircraft was reportedly registered to Benjamin, whose family founded the construction company in 1947. The company has built some of L.A.’s biggest landmarks.