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October 3, 2013 Local News & Culture Marina del Rey Westchester Free S a n ta M o n i c a P l aya d e l R e y P l aya V i s t a M a r V i s ta Del Rey VenicE Santa Monica Fatal crash into airport hangar renews calls for runway protection By Gary Walker A twin engine Cessna Citation 525A jet landed at Santa Monica Airport Sept. 29 and immediately skidded into an airport hanger, killing the passengers inside the airplane and causing an explosion at the general aviation airfield. The jet, which left Hailey, ID the day of the crash, was transporting Morley Builders President and CEO Mark Benjamin and his son Luke, whose office is on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport. Morley Builders Vice President Charles Muttillo appeared to acknowledge that Benjamin and his son were on board the airplane. “We are heartbroken at the loss of Mark Benjamin and his son Lucas in a tragic accident,” Muttillo said in a statement obtained by The Argonaut on Oct. 2. “Mark has been our president and CEO since 1981 and Luke was a senior project engineer. We are proud to be associated with the company that Mark’s family founded. “He had a profound influence on each of our employees, the Southern California landscape, our local community, and the construction industry. We are committed to building on his legacy.” Morley Builders is a Santa Monicabased company that provides general contracting and concrete services. Among the major projects that the company has worked on in the city is the Santa Monica Main Library. The airplane crashed into an airport hangar after going off the right side of the runway at approximately 6:20 p.m., causing the structure to fall onto the plane, which was then engulfed in flames. Santa Monica Fire Department officials, who responded to the accident, said the blaze spread to two other hangars. Four hangars in all were damaged by the fire. “There are no survivors in that hangar or in the plane,” Santa Monica Fire Department Capt. John Nevandro told CBS News. “It was impossible to get in (the hangar). It was collapsing when we got there.” FOUR PASSENGERS were believed to be onboard a Cessna Citation 525A jet Nevandro called it an “unsurvivable (Continued on page 10) that crashed at Santa Monica Airport Sept. 29 there were no reported survivors . PHOTO by Jorge M. Vargas, JR •This Week• Page 17 When makeup artist Ingrid Hartowicz-Fuentes is not working on hit shows "Scandal" and "The Mentalist," she enjoys giving back to her Santa Monica community and beyond. She volunteers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she will take part in "Cancer Care Spa Day" on Saturday, Oct. 5. Westchester Scientists testify on effects of lead in children living near airports By Gary Walker Scientists from a variety of different backgrounds and pilots who fly out of Santa Monica Airport testified at a hearing held by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Marina del Rey) in Westchester Sept. 18 addressing air quality and how lead can alter the human body. High levels of lead have been found in neighborhoods adjacent to general aviation airfields, various studies have shown, and scientists say the compound can have deleterious effects on those who live near these airports. Lieu, the chairman of the state Senate Select Committee on Air Quality, represents communities that are home to airports including Hawthorne and Torrance, and Mar Vista, which borders Santa Monica Airport. Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Westchester), whose district includes Los Angeles International Airport, joined Lieu to hear from the pilots’ representatives as well as from the scientists and the public. The hearing was designed to give legislators as well as the public an opportunity to learn about pollution effects from aviation fuel. Aviation gas, or av gas, contains lead and approximately 75 percent of all small airplanes use this fuel. Lieu said he was alarmed to learn about the effects that lead can have on children. Rebecca Anthopolos, a statistician for Children’s Environmental Health Initiative School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, said via video conference that high levels of lead can cause youngsters to lose IQ points. “That was very troubling,” said Lieu, who has two young sons under the age of 10. Asked by Lieu if she thinks the results of her study would be the same at other general aviation airports, including Santa Monica, Anthopolos replied, “I would think that our study would have the same results.” The scientists who were invited to speak added to prior testimony given at a Dec. 8, 2011 air quality hearing that Lieu held in West Los Angeles. A study by UCLA professor Suzanne Paulson released in (Continued on page 5)


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