Wednesday, March 16, 2011

King Air 200 crashes at Long Beach Airport, five fatalities are reported

Five fatalities have been reported in the crash of a twin engine airplane at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB).

Six people were reportedly on board and five are dead, according to according to Steve Yamamoto of the Long Beach Fire Department.

The plane a King Air 200 (c/n BB-849) N849BM is owned by Thomas Fay Dean, a local developer who owns most of the Los Cerritos Wetlands in southeast Long Beach, his spokesman Mike Murchison confirmed today. Part of the wetlands was traded last year to the city of Long Beach in exchange for most of the city's public service yard by the Los Angeles River in a contoversial land swap.

However, Murchison said he didn't yet know who was on the plane and whether Dean was among the passengers. He said he hadn't been able to get hold of Dean by telephone.

"I can't tell you who was on the plane," Murchison said. "I'm still in the dark."

Ian Gregor, Public Affairs Manager of the Federal Aviation Administration Pacific Division, reported that a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air crashed on departure and that the plane was engulfed in flames.

The aircraft was headed to Salt Lake City, Gregor said.

Fire crews battling the blaze were attempting to cut into the plane to extract the passengers.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate the accident. NTSB is the lead investigative agency.

(Kelly Puente - Long Beach Press Telegram)

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