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Santa Monica News

Santa Monica Plane Crash Victims Identified
Posted by Amanda Macke on Oct 7, 2013 - 1:56:45 PM

SANTA MONICA—The Los Angeles Coroner’s office officially identified the four victims of the fatal Santa Monica plane crash that killed all members on board on Sunday, September 29.


Canyon News spoke with the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office who verified the deceased victims as Mark Benjamin, 63, of Malibu, his son, Lucas Benjamin, 28, of Malibu, Kyla Dupont, 53, of San Diego and Lauren Winkler, 28, of Irvine.
SMO plane crash victims: Lauren Winkler (top left), Mark Benjamin (top right), Lucas Benjamin (bottom left), Kyla Dupont (bottom right).


The family of Mark and Lucas founded the Morley Builders Company, one of Southern California’s most prominent building constructors. The Vice President of Morley Builders, Charles Muttillo, issued a public statement on the company’s website mourning the loss of Mark, who had been the company’s President and CEO since 1981, and his son Lucas Benjamin, who had been a Senior Project Engineer. Mark Benjamin “had a profound influence on each of our employees, the Southern California landscape, our local community, and the construction industry. We are committed to building on his legacy,” Muttillo stated.


Irvine resident, Lauren Winkler, was the Young Leadership Director of Save a Child’s Heart, a non-profit organization that provides international pediatric cardiac care for children in developing countries. “We will remember her energy that filled up any room, her lightness and her love for our children,” the organization posted on their Facebook page on October 1. Kyla Dupont was the President and owner of PropArt/Dupont Design Inc. based in San Diego


On the afternoon of September 29, Mark Benjamin was piloting the twin-engine Cessna Citation that crashed at Santa Monica airport when traveling from Hailey, Idaho with son Lucas, Kyla Dupont and Lauren Winkler onboard. Mark Benjamin was a chair member and major donor of the Idaho Conservation League (ICL), as well as a part-time resident of Wood River Valley, Idaho for nearly 20 years, according to the ICL’s website.


On the day of the accident, Mark was “traveling between Idaho and California, as he often did for a weekend getaway, with his son, Luke,” the ICL wrote. Mark was a “committed conservationist” who created the Mark Benjamin Foundation to protect the environment and youth programs. “The conservation community lost a true friend,” the ICL wrote.


The cause of the accident is still unknown. For more information on the crash investigation, click here.


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