Report: Investigation into SM jet crash suspended due to gov’t shutdown

Santa Monica Plane Crash

Officials at the National Transportation and Safety Board told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday that an investigation into a Sunday night jet crash believed to have killed Malibu resident Mark Benjamin and his son Lucas has been suspended due to the federal government shutdown.

Wreckage from the crash at a hangar at the Santa Monica airport is being removed by the agency and stored at a secure location until the investigation can resume, according to the report. 

Four bodies were discovered among the wreckage, according to the Los Angeles Department of Coroner, as well as two cats and one dog. The bodies were charred beyond recognition and the office is awaiting dental records provided by families of the suspected victims. 

City of Santa Monica officials expect to re-open the airport, which has been closed since Sunday night, by Tuesday afternoon. 

The 2003 two-engine Cessna was attempting to land at the airport but veered to the right and collided with a hangar, according to federal officials. No one survived, according to officials. 

The plane was registered to Mark Benjamin, 63, who was believed to be on board Sunday along with his son Lucas, 28. Benjamin is listed as president of Morley Construction, one of the largest construction companies in Southern California. The company has more than 200 employees and an annual work volume of more than $300 million, according to the company’s site.

Benjamin has been known in Malibu for his philanthropy and work in the community.