Shocking video shows plane crash on Los Angeles beach that killed former Santa Monica mayor Rex Minter

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A veteran Los Angeles politician has died after his plane made a disastrous emergency landing on the city’s beach.

Rex H Minter, a former mayor of Santa Monica and Los Angeles County judge born in 1927, was killed on Thursday when his small Cessna plane ditched on the seafront just after 3pm.

Video footage showed the Cessna rapidly falling towards the beach near Santa Monica’s famous pier, then attempting to land in the surf and flipping forwards onto its back as it struck.

Moments beforehand, the pilot had told air traffic controllers that he wouldn’t be able to reach a nearby airport because something was wrong with the engine.

“Emergency … we have two souls on board. The engine is running very, very rough,” said the pilot in radio recordings obtained by CBS Los Angeles.

Asked by air controllers at Santa Monica Airport if he could make the runway, he said: “I don’t think so. I think I may have to put it on the beach.”

“Roger. Landing on the beach will be at your own risk,” said the controllers. “I wish I had another choice,” replied the pilot, apparently final last words over the radio.

Current Santa Monica mayor Gleam Davis confirmed Mr Minter’s death late on Thursday night, saying: “Sadly, Rex Minter was the passenger in the plane … I have spoken with his family and relayed the city’s condolences to them.”

According to Fox 10, the pilot survived the crash but was taken to hospital.

Santa Monica is one of the numerous smaller cities that make up the megalopolis of Los Angeles, known for its broad sandy beach and high density of film and music companies.

Mr Minter served in the US Marine Corps before becoming a Santa Monica councilman in 1955, and was elected mayor of the city between 1963 and 1967. He later served as a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

In a statement, the city government said he had been active in the Santa Monica Rotary Club and was an “avid aviator” alongside his wife and high school sweetheart Doris.

“The City is grateful for Mr Minter’s public service and we join his family in mourning his passing,” said the statement. “Flags in front of City Hall will be lowered to half-staff and a City Council meeting in the new year will be adjourned in honor of Minter’s service.”

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