4 Family Members Killed After Calif. Plane Crashes Minutes After Takeoff

·2 min read
Crime scene tape
Crime scene tape

Getty Crime scene tape

The victims of a deadly California plane crash have been identified by authorities as four relatives from the Sacramento area.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office (TSCO) announced Saturday that 78-year-old David Chelini, his 58-year-old nephew, Steven Chelini, and his daughters, 46-year-old Karen Baker and 48-year-old Donna Chelini, died in a plane crash near the Visalia Airport.

"Sheriff Boudreaux asks that you keep the Chelini family in your prayers during this incredibly difficult time," the Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook.

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The family members had been traveling aboard a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft, according to authorities. TSCO was notified of a possible downed plane at Road 68 and Avenue 288 by the Visalia Airport at around 6:35 p.m. local time Saturday, they shared on Facebook.

Upon arrival, deputies found that the aircraft had crashed and killed the four passengers aboard, who have now been identified as David, Steven, Karen and Donna.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jesse Cox said authorities received their first 911 call about the incident roughly four minutes after the plane took off, per local outlet KCRA.

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When investigators arrived at the scene of the crash Saturday, they had to search through a heavy layer of fog to locate the downed aircraft, according to ABC 30.

"When we all responded, we were searching for the plane," Cox told reporters, per ABC 30.

Cox added, "The area is a large reservoir area and it's hard to get back there. We need to go on foot... We just circulated the area as much personnel as we had until we found it."

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were brought in Sunday to work on the case and try to identify why the plane crashed within minutes of takeoff, according to ABC 30.

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