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)

(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.

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Rivera Plane Hit Ground With 'Terrible' Impact is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 44 comments
Dec 13, 2012 7:33 AM CST
She's a big time celibrity and has to rent a plane from a shady character who's got a pilot that's 78 years old to fly an ultra modern jet that's been in a previous wreck. So we have a wreck flying a wreck. A guy who probably got his training in a biplane ? For all we know the guy had a heart attack or something broke on the plane. All the more reason to know your plane and your pilot. Too many stories about celibrities dying in aircraft they know nothing about and flown by pilots they never met before.
Dec 12, 2012 3:55 PM CST
Impact at that speed made the pile of bodies look like tomato soup with chunks.
Dec 12, 2012 1:22 PM CST
I took a taxi ride in Tokyo once with an incredibly old driver who wore giant saucer glasses and actually leaned forward over the wheel, pressing his nose up near the glass to look sideways before turning every corner. I was placing mental bets which one of us would die of a heart attack first as he blasted down the highways straddled across the white lines. Maybe people over 75 shouldn't be ferrying passengers for a living?