All six people aboard a small jet died when the aircraft crashed and burned in a field near an airport near Los Angeles on Saturday, local and federal authorities said.
The passengers and pilot who died were all adults, Elliott Simpson, an aviation investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news briefing.
The plane missed the runway after attempting an instrument landing as a marine layer weather phenomenon settled on the area, Simpson said.
The conditions appeared to have met minimum standards for a landing at the airport, according to Simpson.
“Flight was about 45 minutes. Shortly before landing, a marine layer began to envelop the area with low ceilings and visibilities. 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 environment. Air traffic control then provided the pilot with a clearance to perform the public missed approach and then cleared the airplane to return for landing again,” he said.
“Airplane crashed about 500 feet short of runway 1-8, which was the original, appears to be the original intended landing runway. Debris field is about 200 feet long. Most of the airplane, with the exception of the tail, was consumed by fire. Six people on board and all were fatal,” Simpson added.
The aircraft, a Cessna C550 business jet, was traveling from Las Vegas and crashed near French Valley Airport in Riverside County, about 85 miles (137 km) south of Los Angeles, at around 4:15 a.m. local time the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.