(DCWatchdog.com) – A tragic accident occurred near the French Valley Airport in Murrieta, California, on Saturday, resulting in the deaths of six individuals. This marked the second fatal accident at the airport in less than a week.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that a Cessna C550 business jet crashed north of the airport around 4:15 a.m. The jet had previously left Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and was on a brief, 45-minute flight. Unfortunately, it crashed in a field and was quickly engulfed in flames.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said, “Deputies located an aircraft fully engulfed. Six occupants from the plane were located and pronounced deceased at the scene.”
The accident sparked a small brush fire, which the Riverside County Fire Department was able to douse within an hour.
While the victims’ identities weren’t revealed immediately, it was confirmed that all the passengers were adults, and the pilot held a commercial pilot’s certification, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Heavy fog was present in the area that morning, reducing visibility significantly, which may have been a factor in the aircraft missing the runway by several hundred yards.
The pilot had informed air traffic control that he would be attempting a “missed approach,” a term typically used when a pilot cannot clearly view the runway, the NTSB clarified at a press conference on Saturday.
“Preliminary information indicates the airplane crashed short of French Valley Airport during its second approach around 4:15 a.m.,” said NTSB officials.
By the time rescue teams reached the crash site, the aircraft was about 500 feet away from the runway, and the fire destroyed most of the jet.
Regarding the frequent heavy fog in the area, Patrick O’Neil, manager of Moon Valley Nurseries in Murrieta, commented, “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. It’s almost like you’re driving blindfolded.”
The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the accident, including analyses of communication between the pilot and air traffic control and examination of debris from the crash site.
This unfortunate incident follows a fatal crash at French Valley Airport just four days earlier, in which a man lost his life after his plane crashed post-takeoff.
— Breaking News Desk (@BreakingVideoHQ) July 9, 2023