It was an aged private plane owned by a business with suspected drug ties. During a 3:00 AM flight, the plane lost contact. Wreckage was located in a rugged, mountainous area of northern Mexico. On December 9, 2012, all souls aboard the Learjet 25 were lost. One of them, 43-year old singer-songwriter and Long Beach native Jenni Rivera, was believed by some to be at the height of her career.
Each year, serious aviation accidents leave behind grieving relatives and inevitable questions. What went wrong? How did this happen and who is responsible?
In the Jenni Rivera crash, something did go horribly wrong. According to the Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation, the plane carrying Rivera, two pilots, her make-up artist, lawyer, and publicist disintegrated on impact after striking the ground at about 600 miles per hour from a height of 28,000 feet.
Irregularities already uncovered will likely be used by relatives to press cases for wrongful death including:
- Though flying legally, the pilot in command was 78 years old. Did pilot error contribute to the catastrophe?
- Registered to Nevada company Starwood Management, the U.S. owned Lear jet carrying Ms. Rivera was illegally traveling between two Mexican cities. Allowed only to transport passengers into Mexico, internationally registered planes are not allowed to travel between domestic destinations.
- Built in 1969, the Lear 25 suffered substantial damage after a landing accident in Texas in 2005. Questions about maintenance and condition of the airplane persist.
Ms. Rivera was loved and admired by fans on both sides of the border for her resilience, straightforward attitude and songs that sold over 15 million records. On December 19, San Diego fans travelled to Los Angeles to take part in a memorial with her family entitled a celestial graduation.
Careful investigation and a series of wrongful death lawsuits will surely reveal more detail about this deadly accident. But for now, as with any untimely death, saying good-bye to Ms. Rivera and members of her entourage is a farewell said too soon.