Jenni Rivera's Plane Hit Ground at 600mph

Pilot was 78 years old, transport officials say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2012 2:16 AM CST
Mexican-American singer and reality TV star Jenni Rivera poses during an interview in Los Angeles earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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(Newser) – Nobody in the plane carrying Mexican-American superstar Jenni Rivera and six others ever stood a chance, Mexico's chief transport official says. The Lear jet came down almost vertically from more than 28,000 feet and hit the ground at a speed probably greater than 600mph, the official says. "The plane practically nose-dived," he told a Mexican radio station. "The impact must have been terrible." A pilot's certificate found in the wreckage shows that the pilot was qualified to fly, but was 78 years old, the AP reports.

Lear jets can fly at close to the speed of sound and pilots and safety experts say that leaves little margin for error. A nose dive like the one Rivera's plane went into could have been caused by a drastic failure of flight controls, according to a former board member at the NTSB, which is assisting Mexican investigators. "The airplane flies faster than the human mind (can keep up) sometimes," he says. "It takes a lot of skill to stay in front of that airplane." Authorities are performing DNA tests on the human remains found in the wreckage. (Read more Jenni Rivera stories.)

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