No survivors found in deadly Learjet crash in California, officials say


EL CAJON, California (KSWB) – Officials with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said they were “not able to find any survivors” after a small business jet crashed Monday evening near El Cajon, California.

Federal investigators said the aircraft took off from Orange County with four people onboard, but questions remain about its occupants. The jet crashed about 7:15 p.m. just east of El Cajon, in the Bostonia area.

It remained unclear Tuesday what caused the crash. Surveillance footage from a Nest security camera shows the plane plummeting downward over the California neighborhood Monday evening. A flash of bright light, presumably at or after the moment of impact, was also seen in the video shared with KSWB.

As the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board began their probe into the crash Tuesday morning, they deferred to local authorities for any firm confirmation about the passengers’ identities and whether anyone might have survived.

In the meantime, the initial reports from federal investigators are shedding light on the crash.

Rick Breitenfeldt, an FAA spokesperson, confirmed the aircraft was a Learjet 35 business jet flying out of John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. It was headed to Gillespie Field Airport in San Diego County with four people onboard.

“The FAA and NTSB will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide all updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents,” Breitenfeldt said.

For its part, the NTSB had few details to share on the crash early Tuesday.

“The first NTSB investigator is expected to arrive on scene this morning,” agency spokesperson Peter Knudson said. “Two more investigators will arrive later today. Local authorities will provide information related to the accident victims.”

No one was hurt on the ground, but one home was damaged and power lines were knocked down in the area, the sheriff’s department said, causing more than 2,500 San Diego Gas & Electric customers to lose power after the crash. That number had been reduced significantly by early Tuesday.

Roads near the site of the crash remained closed Tuesday and weren’t expected to reopen until Wednesday.

The crash comes a little over two months after a twin-engine Cessna crashed in the San Diego County community of Santee, killing the plane’s pilot and a UPS driver on the ground. The crash also destroyed two homes and left a couple severely burned.

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