MURRIETA – The investigation is continuing today into the crash of a Cessna business jet that killed all six people on board near the French Valley Airport, the second fatal crash near the airport in four days.
The crash was reported at 4:15 a.m. Saturday near Auld and Briggs roads, the Riverside County Fire Department reported. Deputies found the aircraft fully engulfed in flames in a field. Six occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.
They were identified late Saturday by the Riverside County coroner’s office as follows:
— Manuel Vargas-Regalado, 32, of Temecula;
— Abigail Tellez-Vargas, 33, of Murrieta;
— Ibrahem Razick, 46, of Temecula;
— Alma Razick, 51, of Temecula
— Riese Lenders, 25, of Rancho Palos Verdes;
— Lindsey Gleiche, 31, of Huntington Beach;
The burning aircraft caused a vegetation fire of about one acre that was contained at 5:35 a.m., according to Cal Fire Riverside.
The flight departed from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Mina Kaji.
Shortly before the twin-jet plane was scheduled to land, a marine layer enveloped the area with low visibility, said Eliott Simpson of the National Transportation Safety Board.
“The pilot reported to air traffic control that he was going to perform a missed approach, which generally happens when a pilot can’t see the runway,” Simpson said at a Saturday evening news conference.
The Cessna Citation C550 business jet crashed about 500 feet short of the originally intended landing runway, and most of the plane, with the exception of the tail, was consumed by the fire.
The NTSB planned on spending possibly two days investigating at the scene along with representatives from the FAA and Cessna.
A preliminary report was expected in 14 business days, and a final report was expected in 12 to 18 months, Simpson said.
According to Simpson, the person sitting in the pilot seat was a certified commercial pilot. No additional information about the victims was available.
On July 4, a student pilot was killed and three other people were injured when a Cessna 172 crashed while departing the airport. That crash also remains under investigation.
Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.