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Boca Company Mourns Loss Of Employees Killed In Crash

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BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) - Seven of the nine people on board a private charter jet which crashed into an apartment building in northern Ohio were from a real estate company in Boca Raton.

Pebb Enterprises, which scouts locations for shopping malls all around the country is headquartered in Boca. Its employees were stunned when they learned about the crash.

"It was horrendous, I feel so bad for the families involved, condolences big time, it's just a tragedy, a total tragedy," one employee told CBS4.

In addition to the seven company employees, two pilots were also killed.

"Our hearts are broken this morning with the news of the tragic accident that took the lives of two principals and five employees of Pebb Enterprises. We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers," said Pebb Enterprises in a statement.

Robert Weniger, who is a tenant in a building owned by Pebb Enterprises, said he was saddened when he heard what had happened.

"They were always pleasant and the building was always maintained quite well," said Weniger. "They were good people."

One of those who died the crash was 50-year old Diane Smoot, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol.  Smoot's sister, Jeannie Ferraia, said she excited to be with the company's executives as they scouted potential sites for shopping centers in Ohio.

"My sister Diane worked for a company in Boca, the property company, they were doing business looking at property, she was very excited because it was her first trip she made with the executives," said Ferraia.

The jet took off from Dayton and planned to land at Akron Fulton International Airport, about 2 miles from where it crashed.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Haymaker said it clipped utility wires on the way down and crashed into the building, which was destroyed by a subsequent fire. The plane then hit an embankment beyond the building, causing a nearby house to also burn.

The plane burst into flames and disintegrated after impact.


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