UNITED STATES NEWS

Investigators say weather worsened quickly before plane crash that killed 6 in Southern California

Aug 2, 2023, 4:40 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm

The weather was quickly worsening before a plane crashed in Southern California last month, killing all six people on board, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report on the July 8 crash near Murrieta, with new details that added to questions about whether the pilots could see the runway as they attempted to land.

The NTSB said the Cessna 550 business jet hit the ground 800 feet (240 meters) short of the runway threshold at French Valley Airport and caught fire.

The airport’s automated weather station recorded clear skies and visibility of 10 miles less than an hour before the crash, but 20 minutes later, there were clouds at 300 feet (90 meters), and visibility was down to three-quarters of a mile (about 1.2 kilometers). The NTSB said visibility was just a half-mile (about 800 meters) in fog around the time of the crash.

The plane was making its second attempt to land after a missed approach, which usually happens when pilots can’t see the runway. Air traffic controllers gave the crew permission for the second attempt.

John Cox, a former airline pilot and now an aviation-safety consultant, said visibility must be a half-mile at big airports with bright runway lights. A smaller airport with less-powerful lighting makes it even harder to see the runway, he said.

Cox called it “a major error” that the private plane descended below the minimum height at which pilots must be able to see the ground at the airport.

“The fact that they were below minimums and landed short (of the runway) is evidence that they did not have the runway in sight,” he said.

Cox and Douglas Moss, another safety expert and flight instructor, both said the crew should have tried to land at a different airport.

“There were numerous airports within a short distance that had much better weather,” Moss said.

The NTSB has not yet determined a cause for the crash. That will probably take a year or longer.

Moss said the NTSB is also likely to examine whether fatigue was a factor in the 4 a.m. accident and whether pilots might have been too eager to get home as soon as possible.

Two pilots and four passengers were returning from a 5-hour visit to Las Vegas when the crash occurred.

Local authorities have identified the pilots as Riese Lenders, 25, and Manuel Vargas-Regalado, 32; and the passengers as Abigail Tellez-Vargas, 33, Lindsey Gleich, 31, Alma Razick, 51, and Ibrahem Razick, 46.

Murrieta is about 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles.

United States News

Associated Press

Water rescues underway in Arkansas after a new wave of storms across US and Canada

YELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Water rescues were underway Wednesday in Arkansas after a new wave of severe storms that have pummeled a vast swath of the U.S. and Canada, officials said. High winds, tornadoes and flooding have caused damage or deaths from the Plains to New England this week. As much as 11 inches (nearly […]

10 minutes ago

FILE - Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the former armorer for the Western film "Rust," listens to closing ar...

Associated Press

Movie armorer seeks dismissal of her conviction or new trial in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A movie armorer has asked a judge to dismiss her involuntary manslaughter conviction or convene a new trial in the shooting death of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin, alleging suppression of evidence and misconduct by the prosecution. In a court filing Tuesday, defense counsel for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed argued […]

23 minutes ago

The Butler Farm Show, site of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former Preside...

Associated Press

Homeland Security inspector general investigates Secret Service handling of security at Trump rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general says its investigating the U.S. Secret Service’s handling of security for former President Donald Trump on the day a gunman tried to assassinate him at a Pennsylvania rally. The agency says in a brief notice on its website Wednesday the objective is to evaluate the […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Republicans shift their gaze to national security as RNC enters third day

The third day of the Republican National Convention kicks off Wednesday with Republicans — led by the newly nominated Donald Trump and his running mate, U.S. Sen. JD Vance of Ohio — shifting their focus to issues of national security and foreign policy. Republicans are expected to focus on Democratic President Joe Biden’s handling of […]

2 hours ago

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., speaks during the Republican National Convention Tuesday, July 16, 2024, i...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at ominous claims around illegal immigration made at the Republican convention

After Donald Trump triumphantly entered the hall on the second night of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, the program turned to one of his signature issues: illegal immigration. An ominous video of chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border led into to a speech by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who declared, “We are facing […]

3 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Investigators say weather worsened quickly before plane crash that killed 6 in Southern California