Although Jenni Rivera wasn’t a part of the mainstream music industry, she was an undeniable force of nature for the Hispanic-Latino community with her focus on pure Regional Mexican records. Unfortunately, though, as carefully explored in Peacock’s ‘Who Killed Jenni Rivera?,’ it all crumbled apart from the core when she suddenly lost her life in an airplane accident in December 2012. So now, if you wish to learn more about the same — the circumstances surrounding her enigmatic demise, the ensuing investigations, as well as its complex aftermath — we’ve got the details for you.
What Happened to Jenni Rivera?
Jenni was actually on her way to Toluca for another engagement following one of the biggest nights of her career as a live performer at Monterrey Arena when she met her tragic, untimely demise. She’d boarded a Learjet 25 jet alongside four members of her entourage in the early hours of December 9, 2012, excited for her upcoming projects, yet she was never able to see them through. That’s because despite the fact the plane had departed as scheduled at around 3:20 am local time, not only did it fail to reach its destination, but it also lost all contact with the tower in merely 10 minutes.
There were surprisingly no distress calls or indications of something having gone wrong, which is why it was not until later in the afternoon that the aircraft wreckage was discovered near Iturbide. This particular Nuevo León state site was reportedly not very far from the Monterrey International Airport, making it evident they crashed rather quickly right around the time the connection was lost.
According to reports, the jet had nosedived at high speeds of roughly 1,000 mph upon climbing through merely 28,000 feet — not the standard peak — which made it wholly disintegrate on impact. There were thus no survivors; Jenni, her team, the pilot, and the co-pilot all lost their lives, with one of the worst parts being that their recovered remains from the site were nearly unrecognizable.
Was Jenni Rivera Killed?
Owing to her status as a top-selling, influential artist in Regional Mexican music and her several tours across her ancestral homeland, Jenni had previously been linked to cartels as a performer. Therefore, the fact she was undeniably fierce, was always known to stand up for herself, and the overall situation of the nation, it was initially suspected one drug lord or another targeted her, per the docuseries.
However, despite the countless cartel-related conspiracy theories, claims of her kidnapping, and the prior serious threats to her life, it was ultimately concluded no foul play was involved in this crash. The truth is the ensuing probe by the Mexican authorities, assisted by the US National Transportation Safety Board, was a bit inconclusive, but they were sure this was just an unfortunate accident. The former DEA Chief of International Operations actually specified in the Peacock original that they would know if a cartel third-party was involved because of the extensive information they’d gathered over the years; this incident followed no known modus operandi.
It was strange that people reported seeing a ball of fire on the fateful night as if the jet had exploded mid-air and for the flight recorders to not be found at the scene, yet investigations still closed in December 2014. We say strange since there was ostensibly no heat or burn damage on the recovered debris, and the black recorder box would’ve undoubtedly helped ascertain the flight’s last moments. But alas, with the little information positively established, officials determined the crash as an accident, according to the production, with the cause being “loss of control of the aircraft for undetermined reasons.”
Nevertheless, it’s imperative to note there have since been allegations of negligence against the plane’s owner company and flight managers for the pilot as well as the co-pilot’s ages/experience. After all, Mexico’s General Civil Aviation Administration later listed several other plausible causes for the mishap, including loss of control due to a faulty horizontal stabilizer, the jet’s age of 43 years, and its lack of proper maintenance. They also specified that a contributing factor could be the fact it was being operated by 78-year-old pilot Miguel Pérez Soto, who was not licensed to fly in the US, and 21-year-old co-pilot Alejandro Torres, who was not authorized to fly outside of the US.
Whatever the case may be, though, this incident took seven lives; that of Jenni, the pilot, the co-pilot, the singer’s publicist Arturo Rivera (not related), her make-up artist Jacobo Yebale, her attorney Mario Macias Pacheco, and her hair stylist Jorge Armando “Gigi” Sanchez Vasquez. As a result, a judge awarded the families of Jenni’s entourage a $70 million settlement once they filed a lawsuit against the owner of the jet Starwood Management Inc.
Read More: Where Are Jenni Rivera’s Kids Now?