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Plane believed to be singer's found in Mexico

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 8:49 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico — The wreckage of a small plane believed to be carrying Mexican-American music superstar Jenni Rivera was found in northern Mexico on Sunday and there are no apparent survivors, authorities said.

Transportation and Communications Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said "everything points toward" it being the U.S.-registered Learjet 25 carrying Rivera and six other people to Toluca, outside Mexico City, from Monterrey.

"There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human" in the wreckage found in the state of Nuevo Leon, Ruiz Esparza told the Televisa network. The impact was so powerful that the remains of the plane "are scattered over an area of 250 to 300 meters. It is almost unrecognizable."

No cause was given for the plane's crash, but its wreckage was found near the town of Iturbide in Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental, where the terrain is very rough. It took off from Monterrey before dawn at 3:30 a.m. local time and was reported missing about 10 minutes later.

Media and celebrities in Mexico sent condolences to the family of Rivera, who has sold more than 15 million records, but authorities still had not confirmed that she was aboard the plane and said there will be an investigation to identify the remains found.

"My friend! Why? There is no consolation. God help me!" said Mexican songstress Paulina Rubio on her official Twitter account. Singing and soap opera star Lucero wrote on her Twitter account: "What horrible news! ... My deepest sympathies for her family and friends. Luz."

Also aboard the plane were her publicist, Arturo Rivera, her lawyer, makeup artist and the flight crew.

The 43-year-old Rivera who was born and raised in Long Beach, California, is one of the biggest stars of the Mexican regional style known as grupero music, which is influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.

Though drug trafficking was the theme of some of her songs, she was not considered a singer of "narco corridos," or ballads glorifying drug lords like other groups, such as Los Tigres del Norte. She was better known for singing about her disdain for men.

The so-called "La Diva de la Banda" was beloved by fans on both sides of the border for songs such as "De Contrabando" and "La Gran Senora."

She recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for "Joyas prestadas: Banda." She has also been nominated various times for Latin Grammys.

The singer, businesswoman and actress appeared in the indie film Filly Brown, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, as the incarcerated mother of Filly Brown. She also has her own reality shows including "I Love Jenni" and "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and her daughter's "Chiquis 'n Control."