Morley Builders CEO & President Mark John Benjamin, 63, and his son Luke Benjamin are believed to be two of the people on board the fatal plane crash at Santa Monica Airport on Sunday night.
Employees at the Morley Builders head office in Santa Monica were told of the news Monday morning. Morley Builders is one of the largest Southern California-based general contractors headquartered at 3330 Ocean Park Boulevard with offices in Irvine and San Diego.
It is unclear whether other people were on the plane or whether Mark Benjamin, a registered private pilot, was the pilot of the flight.
Morley Builders Vice President Charles Muttillo issued a statement on its website Monday morning.
“We are aware of a plane crash at Santa Monica Airport last night,” Muttillo said. “While we do not have specific facts, we believe that our President and CEO, Mark Benjamin, and his son, Luke Benjamin, a Senior Project Engineer with us were on board. We are unable to issue a further statement at this time. We will provide you with more updates as soon as we learn of them.”
Santa Monca Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Laurel Rosen said Mark Benjamin was “a friend to many of us.”
“He was an important part of the Santa Monica Community, who not only supported the Chamber over the years but gave of himself to many organizations,” Rosen said. “Our hearts go out to his family, we will all miss him.”
A crane will be used Monday morning at Santa Monica Airport to remove the collapsed hangar that’s concealed the eight-seat twin-engine Cessna Citation that crashed into it at 6:20 pm Sunday.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators will be on scene to determine how many people were on board the plane, which has been described as an “unsurvivable crash.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told The Mirror on Sunday night that the twin-engine Cessna Citation went off the right side of the runway after landing.
Gregor said the plane then struck a hangar.
“We do not have information on the number of people on board or their conditions,” Gregor told The Mirror.
Gregor said the plane departed from Hailey, Idaho.
According to flight tracking website Flightaware.com, the plane’s tail number was N194SJ, which is registered in Malibu to CREX-MML LLC, a company with an address on Morning View Drive and owned by Mark Benjamin.
The website said the plane departed Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, ID at 5:14 pm MDT (4:14 pm PST). The flight lasted two hours 10 minutes before arriving at SMO.
The plane had departed SMO on Friday 7:15 pm PST, arriving at Friedman Memorial at 10:02 pm MDT.