The chief executive of Santa Monica’s Morley Builders and his adult son were believed to have been on a private plane that crashed after landing at Santa Monica Municipal Airport Sunday night, apparently killing all on board.
Morley officials did not return calls Monday, but in a statement posted online said, "We are aware of a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport last night. While we do not have specific facts, we believe that our President and Chief Executive, Mark Benjamin, and his son, Luke Benjamin, a senior project engineer with us, were on board.” Mark Benjamin is 63, and Luke Benjamin is 28.
The twin-engine Cessna Citation had flown in from Hailey, Idaho, near the Sun Valley resort area, according to an Associated Press report. After landing at around 6:20 p.m., the plane reportedly veered off the right side of the runway and struck a hangar, which burst into flames. Fire officials described the incident, which destroyed the hanger, as an “unsurvivable” accident. The Cessna seated eight people, plus two crew members, but investigators did not know how many people were on board the flight.
The Los Angeles Business Journal last month ranked Morley Builders as the sixth largest general contractor in Los Angeles County, based on its 2012 local billings of $234 million. The company, of which Morley Construction Co. is a subsidiary, has about 180 local employees.
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