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Virginia police identify 5 killed in small private jet crash near rural airport

HOT SPRINGS, Va. (AP) — Virginia State Police have identified the five people who were killed when a small private jet crashed as it approached a rural airport earlier this month.

The twin-engine IAI Astra 1125 left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 10 and was scheduled to land at Ingalls Field Airport in Hot Springs, Virginia, but it crashed, killing all five people aboard, including a child, Virginia State Police said in a statement.

Police identified them Wednesday as pilot Claudio Jose Alberto Colmenares Perez, first officer Gagan Gupasandra Srinivas Reddy. The passengers were identified as Alfredo Diez, Kseniia Shanina and their son, Nicholas Diez, according to Sgt. Allen Mann. Police did not release their ages or hometowns.

A state police spokesperson told The Associated Press that the plane caught fire on impact and local reports showed what appeared to be plumes of white smoke rising from the site.

An attorney for the plane’s owner and family friend told police that the people aboard planned to attend an event at the nearby Homestead Resort.

The aircraft was destroyed in the crash and caught fire under unknown circumstances during its approach, according to a Federal Aviation Administration preliminary report posted online.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to issue a preliminary report within 30 days on the initial phase of its investigation, though a final report with a probable cause and contributing factors is expected to take one to two years.