Authorities are currently investigating a devastating plane crash near the French Valley Airport in California that resulted in the loss of all six individuals on board. This incident marks the second fatal crash near the airport in just four days. A Cessna business jet crashed early Saturday morning, engulfing the aircraft in flames. The Riverside County Fire Department responded to the scene, where the six occupants were tragically pronounced dead. The victims have been identified as Riese Lenders, Lindsey Gleiche, Manuel Vargas-Regalado, Abigail Tellez-Vargas, Ibrahem Razick, and Alma Razick.
The crash occurred at around 4:15 a.m. near Auld and Briggs roads. The burning plane caused a small vegetation fire, which was contained by Cal Fire Riverside at 5:35 a.m. According to Mina Kaji, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight had departed from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. Shortly before the scheduled landing, a marine layer descended on the area, resulting in low visibility. Eliott Simpson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the pilot had reported difficulty in locating the runway, indicating a missed approach to air traffic control.
The Cessna Citation C550 business jet crashed approximately 500 feet short of the intended landing runway. The majority of the aircraft, except for the tail, was consumed by the fire. The NTSB, along with representatives from the FAA and Cessna, will conduct a thorough investigation at the crash site, which is expected to last for two days. A preliminary report is anticipated within 14 business days, while a final report is expected to be released in 12 to 18 months.
As authorities continue to investigate the crash, they are working to determine the cause of the accident. The presence of the marine layer and its impact on visibility will likely be a key focus of the investigation. Additionally, the NTSB will examine the aircraft’s maintenance records, pilot experience, and any other relevant factors that may have contributed to the crash.
This tragic incident follows another fatal crash at the French Valley Airport just four days prior. On July 4, a Cessna 172 crashed while departing the airport, resulting in the death of a student pilot and injuries to three others. The investigation into that crash is also ongoing.
As the investigation progresses, authorities will continue to gather evidence and analyze the circumstances surrounding the crash. The findings from this investigation will be crucial in improving aviation safety measures and preventing similar incidents in the future.