Four Victims in California Plane Crash Were Family Members

Police lights against a dark sky
NBC Local

Four people killed in the weekend crash of a small plane in central California have been identified as members of the same family, authorities said Monday.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in heavy fog Saturday evening shortly after takeoff from Visalia Municipal Airport, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Everyone on board died.

The victims were David Chelini, 78, his two daughters, Karen Baker, 46, and Donna Chelini, 48, along with his nephew, Steven Chelini, 58, the sheriff's office said.

Officials didn't say who was flying the plane but public records obtained by the Sacramento Bee indicate David Chelini, who lived adjacent to Sacramento Executive Airport, was the only pilot aboard. The plane was registered in his name. He obtained a private pilot’s license in 2010, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jesse Cox told reporters it took first responders some time to locate the wreckage because of darkness and dense fog. Officials haven't said if weather was a factor in the crash.

Around four minutes elapsed between takeoff and the first 911 call, Cox said late Saturday.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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