Small jet crashes into hangar at Southern California airport

Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:51am EDT

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(Reuters) - A small business jet landing at Santa Monica Airport in California swerved off the runway and struck a nearby hangar, authorities said on Sunday, before apparently catching on fire. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The twin-engine Cessna Citation, which departed from Hailey, Idaho, went off the right side of the runway after landing at the airport at 6:20 p.m. local time, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

There was no information on the number of people aboard the aircraft or their conditions, Gregor said. He could not confirm a tail number identifying the aircraft.

The Cessna Citation family of jets have a seating capacity for between five and nine people.

Calls to the Santa Monica Fire Department, the primary responder to the crash scene, were not immediately returned late on Sunday.

News pictures taken shortly after the crash showed billowing black smoke curling up over aircraft at the airport, which serves communities west of downtown Los Angeles.

Subsequent images showed the tail of an aircraft protruding from the partly collapsed hangar, flanked by fire trucks. A source close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified, said the collapsed hangar prevented fire officials from accessing the wreckage.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Additional reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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