All five victims of Long Beach plane crash now identified; lone survivor still in critical condition
Coroner’s officials have identified all five men killed in a fiery plane crash Wednesday at the Long Beach Airport.
The victims were Mark Llewllyn Bixby, 44, a Long Beach real estate broker and cycling activist; Long Beach real estate investor Thomas Fay Dean, 50; his business partner Jeffrey Albert Berger, 49, of Manhattan Beach; Bruce Michael Krall, 51, of Ladera Ranch; and Kenneth Earl Cruz, 43, of Culver City.
Cruz was reportedly the pilot. He earned his private pilot license in January 2002 and his commercial pilot license in September 2003 and had no previous record of any accidents, according to Federal Aviation Administration officials.
Friends of the victims identified Krall as Dean’s banker.
The Salt Lake City-bound twin-engine plane crashed along the airport runway and burst into flames shortly after takeoff at 10:37 a.m.
Friends described several of the victims as prominent Long Beach business and community leaders and said they were headed to Park City, Utah, to ski.
Airport officials initially said the plane was circling back to land when it crashed, but the FAA has only been able to confirm that the plane took off, immediately turned left and then dived into the airfield, said spokesman Ian Gregor.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation into the cause of the crash, was working with a salvage company Thursday to remove the wreckage and take it to a facility near Palmdale, where it will be examined.
A sixth passenger, real estate executive Mike Jensen, 51, of Long Beach, was the lone survivor of the crash and was hospitalized in critical condition.
-- Tony Barboza