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California Plane Crash Kills Five, Injures One

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Long Beach, CAPeople continue to speculate as to what caused a plane crash Wednesday near Long Beach Airport, killing five. According to a report from KTLA, the Beechcraft King Air plane had taken off from the airport, circled, and was trying to land, when the plane slammed into the ground, erupting into a fireball.

One occupant survived. A vigil for the victims is being observed today (March 18).

Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating. There was no reference as to the weather conditions at the time of the 10:30 am (Pacific) crash, or what may have led the pilot—who was among those killed—to determine that a return to the tarmac was necessary so soon after take-off.

The aircraft was reported to be headed for Sale Lake City when it took off from Long Beach Municipal Airport.

Among those killed were Thomas Fay Dean, 50, of Laguna Beach; Bruce Michael Krall, 51, of Ladera Ranch; Jeffrey Albert Berger, 49, of Manhattan Beach; Mark Llewllyn Bixby, 44, of Long Beach; and Kenneth Earl Cruz, 43, of Culver City. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office confirmed the identities of those killed.

The survivor was identified as Mike Jensen, 51, a real estate executive. Among the dead, Mark Bixby was identified as having been a colleague, business partner and co-owner with Jensen at Pacific Real Estate Partners.

Jensen's injuries were not disclosed. However, he was reported to be in critical condition when transported to Long Beach Memorial Hospital following the plane crash.

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