Reports confirm that popular Mexican-American songstress Jenni Rivera has gone missing after being involved in a suspected plane crash in northern Mexico on Sunday morning (Dec. 9). According to the AP, 43-year-old Rivera boarded a small, private Lerjet after performing a concert in Monterey headed to Toluca on Sunday - the aircraft's pilot lost contact with air traffic controllers ten minutes after departure and did not land as scheduled. Authorities are currently searching for Rivera along with four other flight passengers (including the musician's publicist, lawyer, and makeup artist) and two pilots who all went missing in the suspected plane crash.
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(UPDATE: Rivera now believed to be dead after Mexican officials announced that the wreckage of a small plane believed to be carrying the songstress was found with no apparent survivors, reports Transportation and Communication Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza).
Jose Antonio Gonzalez, mayor of the town of Iturbide in Nuevo Leon, announced that a plane had been located in the municipality of Los Tejocotes on Sunday, but it has yet to be confirmed that it is the same jet Rivera and her crew were traveling in. Jorge Domene, a spokesman for the Nuevo Leon government, insists that there are no signs or knowledge of Rivera's whereabouts or the location of the alleged crashed plane.
According to Domene, Rivera's plane left Monterrey about 3:30 a.m. (local time) on Sunday. The aircraft was scheduled to arrive in Toluca (located right outside Mexico City) approximately an hour later. A search for the plane is currently under way with civilian protection agency helicopters combing over the state.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communication released in a statement that a U.S.-registered Learjet 25 with seven individuals aboard was still listed as "missing" as of Sunday afternoon (reaffirmed by Alejandro Argudin of Mexico's Civil Aviation Agency).
Rivera, popularly known as the Diva of the Banda, is a Long Beach, CA native and the mother of five children. The Billboard Mexican Music Awards winner is also an avid actress and businesswoman, appearing in the hit reality shows "I Love Jenni," "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and "Chiquis 'n Control" as well as the popular film "Filly Brown."
Following Rivera's concert in Monterrey on Saturday night, the singer gave a press conference where she talked about her recent divorce from former Major League Baseball pitcher, Esteban Loaiza:
"I can't get caught up in the negative because that destroys you. Perhaps trying to move away from my problems and focus on the positive is the best I can do. I am a woman like any other and ugly things happen to me like any other woman... The number of times I have fallen down is the number of times I have gotten up."
Rivera is the sister of popular Mexican singer Lupillo Rivera - Patricia Chavez of Lupillo's office in the U.S. recently told the AP, "For now we don't have any information that would be useful."
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