As the city awaits a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding a fatal accident at Santa Monica Airport, friends and family are memorializing the two people who died. 

Flight instructor Christian West and student Jackson Nazario died on Sept. 8 when an introductory flight lesson went wrong. 

According to the NTSB, their flight took off at about 3:30 p.m., flew along the coast for about an hour and showed no signs of distress during the landing approach before the plane suddenly climbed about a hundred feet and then rolled back to the ground.

NTSB is leading the investigation and a preliminary report on the crash will be released when investigators have enough information.

However, in the meantime, services and memorials are being held for the pair who lost their lives. 

Santa Monica Flyers held a memorial on Sept. 15 for instructor Christian West. 

“All of us here at SMF are heartbroken, but the process of healing begins with community. Now is the time to come together and grieve our loss,” the company wrote before the event. 

West was a graduate of Santa Monica College and had said he wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. He had taught at Santa Monica Flyers since 2018.

On social media, his students and coworkers praised West.

“If I only knew on the second pic would be the last time I’d see you & our last lesson together, I would’ve said thanks for being a good instructor to me & hugged you tighter to say goodbye,” said Karen Versace on Facebook.

“Christian was an amazing CFI and young man. He will truly be missed in the SoCal aviation community,” said Christopher Trotter. “My condolences go out to his family and all that had the privilege to fly with him, because flying with him truly was a privilege. Blue skies and tailwinds, dear friend.”

The passenger who died, Jackson Nazario, was an aspiring audio engineer and producer. He is being remembered with an online fundraiser (https://www.gofundme.com/f/jackson-nazarios-celebration-of-life) to pay for funeral expenses and support the family. 

“Anyone that knew Jackson will tell you, he’s an ultra light beam, his energy emanated outward unto all that were around. His childlike love, curiosity, and wonder, guided him on his journey of travel and meeting new people. Everywhere he went, he made a friend, he was a friend,” said the statement for the fundraiser. 

“Jackson had a courageous way of being him Self. His efforts to give were limitless, he gave with such an open and pure heart. He gave whatever he had to those around him with zero expectation of anything in return.”

editor@smdp.com