Mexican singing superstar Jenni Rivera's plane fell more than 28,000 feet, nose-diving to the ground at a speed of 600 miles an hour, transport investigators have revealed.
Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico's secretary of communications and transportation, told Radio Formula that authorities had pieced together the final moments leading to the crash on Sunday that killed Rivera and six others in northern Mexico, CBS News reported.
Ruiz told Radio Formula that the plane hit the ground 1.2 miles from where it began falling.
"The plane practically nose-dived. The impact must have been terrible," Ruiz said on radio.
He said the Lear jet plummeted at a 45 degree angle slamming into the rugged terrain.
"These aircraft require an awful lot of skill to fly and don't leave a lot of margin for error," Lee Collins, a cargo airline pilot and executive vice president of the Coalition of Airline Pilot Associations in Washington, told AP.
He said that in situations in which a pilot loses control of an aircraft, the plane could "get into a high-speed dive and inadvertently go through the speed of sound."
The private jet carrying Rivera took off from the northern Mexican city of Monterrey at 3:15 a.m. local time on Sunday and fell off the radar 10 minutes after take-off.
The Los Angeles Times reported the aircraft, built in 1969, reached 11,000 feet, before losing contact with air traffic controllers and falling from the sky, Mexican authorites said.
The new details come as investigators continue to find human remains among the crash site.
Authorities said they believe they have found Rivera's remains but are awaiting DNA testing, the Associated Press reported.
Vigils continue to be held outside Rivera's house as fans mourn her loss.
On Monday, tributes flowed in for the 43-year-old who hours before had performed at a concert in Mexico.
ABC News reported Rivera's father, Pedro, told reporters: "This is the first tragedy of this kind that we suffer as a family."
"I hope people remember her as she was - someone who was straight with the world."
A mangled California driver's license with Rivera's name and picture was found in the crash site debris.
Rivera sold more than 15million records and recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards, Broadway World reported.
Entertainment Wise said Jennifer Lopez had expressed her sadness at the tragedy, saying: "Praying for Jenni Rivera's children and family and the passengers families. Que dios los bendigan!! Descansen en paz..."
Other stars to pay tribute included Whoopi Goldberg who wrote: "R.I.P. Jenni Rivera,AMAZING & very talented woman My deep condolence to her family... Love her music," while Alicia Keys simply tweeted: "I'm so sorry."
Rivera was nominated for Latin Grammys in 2002, 2008 and 2011.
Authorities said the cause of the crash was not yet known but investigations were continuing.