Six people were killed when a jet crashed near the French Valley Airport in Murrieta early Saturday morning, marking the second deadly crash at the airstrip in less than a week.
According to the FAA, the Cessna C550 business jet crashed just north of the airport around 4:15 a.m.
The 45-minute flight, which had departed from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, went down in a field and burst into flames.
“Deputies located an aircraft fully engulfed,” the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said. “Six occupants from the plane were located and pronounced deceased at the scene.”
The crash caused a small brush fire that crews were able to extinguish in one hour, the Riverside County Fire Department said.
The identities of the victims were not immediately released. They were confirmed to be all adults and the pilot was a certified commercial pilot, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Heavy fog blanketed the area Saturday morning, causing poor visibility which may have caused the aircraft to miss the runway by several hundred yards.
The pilot reported to air traffic control that he would be performing a “missed approach” which generally happens when a pilot cannot clearly see a runway, NTSB explained at a press conference held on Saturday.
“Preliminary information indicates the airplane crashed short of French Valley Airport during its second approach around 4:15 a.m.,” NTSB said.
The plane crashed about 500 feet short of the runway and by the time authorities arrived at the scene, most of the airplane had been consumed by flames, officials said.
Of the heavy fog frequently seen in the area, “It’s almost like a whiteout if you’re in the hills,” said Patrick O’Neil, manager of Moon Valley Nurseries in Murrieta. “You couldn’t see probably two to five feet in front of you. It’s almost like you’re driving blindfolded.”
The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the events leading up to the deadly crash, including all audio tapes between the pilot and air traffic control and debris recovered from the crash site.
Saturday morning’s crash comes just four days after one man was killed when his plane crashed after taking off from French Valley Airport.
This is a developing story. Stay with KTLA for updates.