Santa Monica News
Preliminary Findings On SMO Plane Crash
By Amanda Macke
Oct 28, 2013 - 2:07:40 PM

SANTA MONICA—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released preliminary findings from their investigation into the fatal plane crash at Santa Monica airport on Sunday, September 29.


The accident report, released on October 22, tentatively states that malfunction of the Cessna 525A Citation’s landing gear was not a cause for the twin-engine plane to veer off runway 21 and crash into a hangar. The three landing gear tires appeared to have performed appropriately and showed no signs of unusual wear.
The investigation is ongoing at the Santa Monica Airport.


On-scene examiners of the wreckage and runway found no airplane debris left on the runway, confirming witness reports that the airplane made a normal approach and landing. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower local controller also reported that the private pilot, Mark Benjamin, did not express any concerns over the radio before or during the landing.


The plane traveled with clear weather conditions from Hailey, Idaho to Santa Monica airport. The report states that as the airplane landed, it swerved off the right side of the runway, colliding into the 1,000-feet-remaining-runway distance sign as it continued to swerve to the right until the plane’s right wing crashed into a hangar structural post. The roof of the damaged hangar structure then collapsed onto the plane, igniting a fire that killed all four passengers on board.


The passengers on board were identified as Mark Benjamin, 63, his son Lucas Benjamin, 28, Kyla Dupont, 53, and Lauren Winkler, 28.


The crash investigation is ongoing and preliminary findings are subject to change until the NTSB releases the final report. The investigation was momentarily suspended for two weeks due to furloughs of NTSB inspectors during the government shutdown, but has commenced operations once again.


For more information regarding the tragic crash, follow the links:


Santa Monica Plane Crash Victims Identified


Congressman Waxman Demands SMO Inspection

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