NTSB: Tires Intact During SMO Crash

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The NTSB has found no evidence of tire malfunctions on a Cessna Citation that crashed at Santa Monica Airport last month, according to the safety board's preliminary report. At least one eyewitness had reported at the time that a tire blew out during the landing. In its report, the NTSB said on-scene investigators found no airplane debris on the runway, and all three landing-gear tires were inflated. The tires showed no unusual wear patterns. The local tower controller said the pilot didn't express any problems over the radio before or during the landing. All four people on board were killed when the airplane ran into a hangar and a fire ensued.

Witnesses reported that the airplane made a normal approach and landing, the NTSB said. "The airplane traveled down the right side of the runway, eventually veered off the runway, impacted the 1,000-foot runway distance remaining sign, continued to travel in a right-hand turn, and impacted a hangar structural post with the right wing," according to the NTSB report. "The airplane came to rest inside the hangar and the damage to the hangar structure caused the roof to collapse onto the airplane. A post-accident fire quickly ensued." The flight had originated at Hailey, Idaho. The owner of the jet, Mark Benjamin, 63, was killed in the crash, along with his son, Luke, 28. Lauren Winkler, 28, of Irvine, and Kyla Dupont, 53, of San Diego, also died. Mark Benjamin, who is believed to have been the pilot, was CEO of a construction company, where his son worked as a project manager.