Gilroy Community Mourns Loss of Family of 5 Aboard Small Plane that Crashed in Bakersfield

A Gilroy, California, community is mourning the death of a family of five after the single-engine plane they were on crashed near Bakersfield over the weekend.

Jimmy Dahlan, the brother of one of the victims, spoke exclusively with NBC Bay Area on Sunday night. He identified the crash victims as Jason Thomas Price, his wife Olga Dahlan, and their three children — 14-year-old John, 10-year-old Mary and 9-year-old Olivia. All lived in Gilroy and were heading from San Jose to a holiday party in Las Vegas.

On Monday, the family's friends expressed their devastation by writing messages that popped up all over Gilroy.

"The whole neighborhood shut down when they heard about it," said Jeremy Gomez. "I just wish they didn’t go."

Xiomara Garcia agreed, saying that Olivia and Mary were "like sisters" to her. 

In the neighborhood where everyone knows each other and kids spend summers outside together, Tricia Alvarez said, "Mary loved our dogs, and Olivia was just such a sweetheart and talkative little soul, and John was just so sweet and so innocent."

Price built maintenance and data programs, according to his LinkedIn page, which says he also worked for Genesis Solutions as a principal reliability engineer and at Chevron as a reliability consultant. According to LinkedIn, Price volunteered in the Air Force Auxiliary providing disaster and humanitarian relief.

"On behalf of GenesisSolutions and its employees, we express our deepest sympathy and condolences for Jason Price and his family," Bill Thompson, GenesisSolutions' director sales and marketing said in a statement.

He continued: "Jason was an associate of our organization and a valued and loved team member, friend, and contributor to our customers and the maintenance and reliability professionals we serve. We are mourning this tragic loss."

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the single-engine Piper PA32 around 4 p.m. as it was flying from Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose to Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Sheriff's officials found aircraft debris scattered across a quarter mile in an almond orchard, near Panama Lane and South Allen Road, hours after the pilot sent a mayday call and the plane disappeared from radar, authorities said.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were on scene Sunday morning, trying to determine the cause of the crash.

A search and rescue crew located the debris around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, about three hours after receiving an alert from the FAA about a missing plane that was last detected an estimated 10 miles south of the Bakersfield, Kern County Sheriff's Cmdr. Shaun Beasley said.

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A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford said it was rainy and cloudy in the Central California area around the time the plane went off radar.

Per Kern County Sheriff spokesman Sgt. Mark King, the coroner's office has recovered the bodies and was in the process of formally identifying them.

Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area, children who knew the Price siblings signed posters and placed rocks with Jason, Olga, John, Mary and Olivia's names outside their homes.

"They were just a loving family to be around and their kids were fun to be around," Gomez said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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