The pilot of a plane that crashed at Santa Monica Airport, killing all four people aboard, reported no problems prior to the landing, and the plane's tires were fully inflated, despite early speculation that a blown tire may have sent the aircraft careening into a hangar, according to a preliminary report released Thursday.
The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board also found that there was no debris on the runway to explain why the Cessna 525A Citation slammed into the hangar and burst into flames around 6:20 p.m. on Sept. 29.
The hangar collapsed onto the plane, which had taken off from Hailey, Idaho.
Killed in the crash were Mark Benjamin, 63, the president of a Santa Monica-based construction company; his son Lucas, 28; Lucas Benjamin's girlfriend, 28-year-old Lauren Winkler; and Kyla Dupont, 53.
"Witnesses reported observing the airplane make a normal approach and landing," according to the NTSB report. "The airplane traveled down the right side of the runway, eventually veering off the runway, impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign, continued to travel in a right-hand turn and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing. The airplane came to rest inside the hangar and the damage to the hangar structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A post-accident fire quickly ensued.''
Investigators determined there was "no airplane debris on the runway," and the planes three tires "were inflated and exhibited no unusual wear patterns."
"The Federal Aviation Administration control tower local controller reported that the pilot did not express over the radio any problems prior to or during the landing," according to the NTSB.