Cessna crashes in Southern California, killing 6

A business jet crashed Saturday in a field in Murrieta, Calif., killing six people on board, according to local authorities and aviation officials investigating the early-morning incident near French Valley Airport.

The Cessna 550 took off from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and crashed short of the French Valley airstrip during its second approach around 4:15 a.m. local time, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.

Riverside County deputies “located an aircraft fully engulfed in flames in a field,” along with the six dead, according to the sheriff’s department. The fire department said in a tweet that the blaze burned an acre of vegetation and was contained around 5:35 a.m. Local news outlets showed images of charred wreckage through a thick fog.

No passenger identities or other details of the crash were released. The NTSB statement said five investigators were heading to the scene, adding that it was too early to determine potential causes. The Federal Aviation Administration also is investigating.

This was the second fatal crash at the airstrip in a week. Last Tuesday, a single-engine Cessna 172 crashed shortly after takeoff from French Valley, killing the 39-year-old pilot and injuring his three young sons who were passengers, according to authorities and local news reports.

Riverside County Aviation, which operates the airport, referred questions to investigating authorities. According to the French Valley website, the airstrip is located minutes away from a busy corridor that boasts “a proliferation of high-tech and manufacturing business,” with golf courses, resorts and fine dining listed among the area’s amenities.

Last month, a Cessna Citation took off from Tennessee and veered off course en route to New York, with its pilot unresponsive. Authorities scrambled fighter jets to intercept the plane, causing a sonic boom that reverberated across the D.C. area. The plane crashed near Montebello, Va., killing all four people on board, including a toddler.

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