Jenni Rivera: Authorities confirm singer died in plane crash
American aviation authorities confirmed Monday that Latin music star Jenni Rivera died Sunday in a plane crash in Mexico's mountainous terrain.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a statement that all seven people aboard the small plane "were fatally injured including Latin singer Jenni Rivera." The NTSB is sending investigators to Mexico to assist with the investigation, the agency said.
Rivera, a native of Long Beach, was 43. On Sunday, Mexico's ministry of transportation said that she had been aboard the plane and that no one had survived the crash, but did not confirm her death outright.
Rivera had performed a concert in Monterrey, Mexico, on Saturday night — her standard fare of knee-buckling power ballads, pop-infused interpretations of traditional banda music and dizzying rhinestone costume changes.
At a news conference after the show, Rivera appeared happy and tranquil, pausing at one point to take a call on her cellphone that turned out to be a wrong number. She fielded questions about struggles in her personal life, including her recent separation from husband Esteban Loaiza, a professional baseball player.
"I can't focus on the negative," she said in Spanish. "Because that will defeat you. That will destroy you.... The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."
Hours later, shortly after 3 a.m., Rivera is believed to have boarded a Learjet 25, which took off under clear skies. The jet headed south, toward Toluca, west of Mexico City. Rivera had been scheduled to tape in Toluca the television show "La Voz" — Mexico's version of "The Voice" — on which she was a judge.
The plane, built in 1969 and registered to a Las Vegas talent management firm, reached 11,000 feet. But 10 minutes and 62 miles into the flight, air traffic controllers lost contact with its pilots, according to Mexican authorities. The jet crashed outside Iturbide, a remote city that straddles one of the few roads bisecting Mexico's Sierra de Arteaga national park.
Wreckage was scattered across several football fields' worth of terrain. An investigation into the cause of the crash was underway.
"Remember her with your heart the way she was," Rivera's father, Don Pedro Rivera, told reporters in Spanish on Sunday evening. "She never looked back. She was a beautiful person with the whole world."
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