Six people were killed Saturday when the light jet they were traveling in crashed and burst into flames before dawn on the second of two landing attempts in fog near a southern California airport, authorities said. .
The Cessna C550 corporate jet disaster occurred around 4:15 a.m. in Murrieta, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
It took firefighters more than an hour to extinguish the flames that scorched less than an acre (half hectare) of vegetation to one side of the Frencha Valley Airport, the Riverside County Fire Department said.
The jet, with seating for 13 people, crashed about 500 feet (150 meters) from the runway, said Elliot Simpson, an investigator for the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
"Most of the plane, except for the tail, was burned," Simpson told reporters in the afternoon.
Investigators toured the spot where the remains were scattered over 60 meters (200 feet) in the field, it added.
All six occupants died where the aircraft crashed, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The victims, all adults, were not immediately identified.
The jet, which had departed from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas for a 45-minute flight to Murietta, crashed on its second approach to the runway, the NTSB said. The pilot was cleared to land instrument-only due to limited visibility from above and a low ceiling, Simpson said.
"The visibility and the ceilings allowed a landing, but they were at the minimum" of the regulations set for that airport, he said.
Investigators will analyze recorded exchanges between the pilot and air traffic control.
A preliminary report is due within two weeks, the NTSB said.
According to the FAA's aircraft tracking database, the jet was owned by Prestige Worldwide Flights LLC of Imperial, California. At the moment it was impossible to establish communication with representatives of the airline so that they could make statements about what happened.
The plane disaster was the second this week at the small county-owned airport in Murrieta, a city of about 112,000 people. On July 4, a man was killed and three people were injured when a single-engine Cessna 172 crashed into a parking lot shortly after takeoff from French Valley.