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Former Santa Monica mayor dies in small plane crash on beach


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A former mayor of Santa Monica, California, died after a small plane crash-landed and flipped upside down on a beach in the coastal California community, authorities said.

Rex Minter was a passenger in the single-engine Cessna that took off from Santa Monica Airport about 3 p.m. Thursday en route to Malibu. The pilot was taken to a hospital.

The City of Santa Monica and current Mayor Gleam Davis separately confirmed Minter’s death.

According to a flight recording, the pilot reported engine trouble and tried to return to the airport but then decided to make an emergency landing, KCBS-TV reported.

In a recording played on KTTV-TV, air traffic control warns the pilot that “landing on the beach will be at your own risk.”

“I wish I had another choice,” the pilot replied.

Video showed the plane descending for a beach landing but hitting the water at the shoreline and flipping over south of the Santa Monica Pier.

Firefighters removed two people from the plane, one of them in cardiac arrest, authorities said.

Minter was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 1955 and served as mayor between 1963 and 1967, later serving as city attorney for Arcadia and as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, a statement on the city’s website said.

Davis said in a tweet that she had relayed the city’s condolences to Minter’s family.

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