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6 California residents died on jet that crashed, burned

Updated July 10, 2023 - 12:14 pm

Six people died after a plane that took off from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas crashed over a Southern California field Saturday morning before bursting into flames.

All six people on board died at the scene, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Chad Bianco identified the six victims as Lindsey Gleiche, 31, of Huntington Beach; Riese Lenders, 25, of Rancho Palos Verdes; Alma Razick, 51, of Temecula; Ibrahem Razick, 46, of Temecula; Abigail Tellez-Vargas, 33, of Murrieta; and Manuel Vargas-Regalado, 32, of Temecula.

The aircraft crashed near an airport in the city of Murrieta, California, in southwest Riverside County, located between Los Angeles and San Diego.

The pilot was making a second landing attempt in fog before dawn Saturday, authorities said.

The plane, with about one acre of vegetation, was engulfed in fire when deputies arrived, the department reported.

A report of an aircraft emergency was received at 4:16 a.m., according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The brush fire from the downed aircraft was contained by 5:35 a.m.

The plane was a Cessna Citation C550 business jet that departed sometime before 4 a.m. at the Atlantic Aviation terminal, where private planes depart, said Heidi Hayes, airport spokesperson.

The jet, which can seat up to 13 people, crashed about 500 feet short of the intended runway, said Elliott Simpson, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Most of the airplane, with the exception of the tail, was consumed by fire,” Simpson told reporters. Investigators were combing through a debris field about 200 feet long, he said.

The plane, which had departed from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas for the 45-minute flight to Murietta, crashed during its second approach, the NTSB said.

The pilot was cleared for a landing using only instruments because of limited visibility from the low cloud ceiling, Simpson said.

“The visibility and ceilings allowed for a landing, but it was right on the minimums” of the regulations set for that airport, he said.

The FAA’s aircraft tracking database lists the jet as owned by Prestige Worldwide Flights LLC of Imperial, California. Officials with the company could not be reached for comment.

The six people from the plane were located and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s department. They have not been identified.

The investigation into the crash will be assumed by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration with the NTSB coordinating the probe and providing any updates, according to FAA spokesperson Mina Kaji.

The Saturday morning crash marked the second fatal crash near the French Valley Airport in Riverside County.

One man was killed and three were injured when a plane struck the side of a building by the airport on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.

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