Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

No Signs of Tire Damage in SM Plane Crash

 
Series: airport | Story 2


There were no signs of landing gear tire damage and nothing unsual about a small plane’s approach and landing last month before it veered off a runway, crashed into a hangar and burned at Santa Monica Airport, killing four people aboard, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by federal investigators.

The preliminary findings, subject to change before the final report is issued, reveal little about what caused the fatal Sept. 29 crash.

“Witnesses reported observing the airplane make a normal approach and landing,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. “The airplane traveled down the right side of the runway, eventually veered off the runway, impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign, continued to travel in a right-hand turn, and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing.”

The twin-engine Cessa Citation stopped inside the hanger, the roof of which collapsed on the plane before a fire. There were no reports of plane debris on the runway and the landing gear tires were inflated with no signs of unusual wear, according to the report.

The four people who died in the crash arrived from Hailey, Idaho. They were identified as Lucas Benjamin, 28, of Malibu; Lauren Winkler, 28, of Irvine; Kyla Dupont, 53, of San Diego; and Mark Benjamin, 63, of Malibu.

Luke Benjamin is Mark Benjamin’s son. The elder Benjamin is believed to have been at the controls.

Mark Benjamin was CEO of Morely Buildings, the company behind some high-profile buildings in Southern California, including Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles and the Getty Villa Museum.

Winkler worked as a leadership director for the non-profit Save a Child’s Heart organization.

 

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