A single-engine plane made an emergency landing Thursday afternoon on a Santa Monica beach just south of the iconic pier. A passenger, former Santa Monica mayor Rex Minter, was later pronounced dead. The pilot was hospitalized in an unknown condition.
The plane was found upside down on the coastline after leaving Santa Monica airport around 3 p.m. Thursday and crashed after just nine minutes in the air.
Two people were trapped on the plane, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The crew rescued the passengers, but their condition was not immediately reported. Authorities said one of the passengers had a heart emergency.
Late Thursday night, current Santa Monica mayor Sue Himmellich confirmed: Former mayor Rex H. Minter died in crashHe served as mayor from 1963 to 1967.
An unidentified pilot was hospitalized in an unknown condition.
Cell phone video from the scene showed the plane slowly descending toward the coastline before slamming into sand and water and flipping upside down.
Flight records show the pilot had originally planned to fly to Malibu, but began experiencing engine trouble near Pacific Palisades.
The pilot attempted to return to Santa Monica Airport, but was forced to make an emergency landing on the coastline near the pier.
“It’s your responsibility to land on the coast,” the air traffic controller said as the plane approached the coastline, to which the pilot replied, “I wish I had another option.”
While awaiting the arrival of federal agents from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, the local crew pulled the plane further up the beach to keep it out of the tide.
No swimmers were injured in the accident.
Witnesses couldn’t believe what they saw on a calm day at the beach.
“I was completely blown away. I can see the plane in the middle of Santa Monica.” and came down into the sunset. It was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
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