CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES — A Cessna Citation 550 business jet crashed while trying to land amid poor visibility in a field near the French Valley airport, Riverside County, early Saturday (8 Jul) at 4.15 am.
Officials stated that the plane which had six people onboard, had taken off from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and crashed short of the airstrip during its second approach.
The plane was found to be completely engulfed in flames, sparking a small bush fire and was burning an acre of brush in the process when the local authorities and emergency services arrived at the location.
The Riverside County Fire Department had tweeted that the fire was contained at about 5.35am while a news release by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office announced that all six adults aboard the plane were pronounced dead at the scene.
Patrick O’Neil, who had witnessed the aftermath of the Saturday incident, said to reporters, “The harsh conditions that we get here in the valley, this particular area, every morning its it’s like a snow flurry – it’s almost like a whiteout if you’re in the hills. You couldn’t see probably two to five feet in front of you.”
The tragic event has sent shockwaves through the community. An investigation by the Federal Aviation Authorities (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is already underway, with the preliminary report of the incident set to be released within two weeks.
It has been noted that this is the second crash to have occurred in the area in less than a week.
On July 5, a Cessna 172 crashed into a building in Murieta shortly after taking off from the French Valley airport resulting in one death and three injured.
In another report, a Cessna A185F crashed into a ravine between a church and a residential area in La Mesa yesterday. Fortunately, no one on the ground was hurt in the accident, and both pilots only suffered from minor cuts and bruises.
The Aviation authorities have launched thorough investigations into all the crashes during the past week to determine the factors that contributed to the recent events.