A tragic, sad story to fold into a shit-load of others — five people died yesterday down in Orange County when a plane blew apart in the air, falling pieces struck a house. Killed were the pilot (flying solo) and four people in the house. Around the block:
— Joshua Nelson (@JoshuaRNelson) February 3, 2019
This morning, authorities identified the pilot as Antonio Pastini, a 75-year-old restaurant owner from Nevada, supposedly a long-time, experienced aviator.
The airplane, a 1981 Cessna 414A, reportedly started coming apart less than 10 minutes after it departed Fullerton Airport. Per the OC Register:
On Monday, federal aviation investigators pored over the crash scene.
Just around the corner, workers used blue tarps to cover the broken windows of a home in the 19700 block of Crestknoll Drive.
The windows were shattered when the engine and the propeller of the small Cessna had smashed into the structure.
Also damaged was a pillar on its front porch.
It was unclear how many homes suffered damage and the severity.
It’s not clear what part of the plane smashed into the home in the 19900 block of Crestknoll that caught fire and was almost completely destroyed.
The four people killed inside the home had not been positively identified with their names released yet.
A Sheriff’s Department commander said coroner’s investigators were having trouble getting access to the bodies, still in the rubble.
Two others had moderate injuries and were taken to the UC Irvine Health Regional Burn Center, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun; where they were when the incident occurred was not disclosed, and neither were their latest conditions.
Residents on the ground in Yorba Linda said they thought the crash sounded like a bomb going off.
Shawn Winch has lived in the neighborhood for seven years. He heard a loud whistling noise.
“It sounded like a missile coming at my house,” he said.
Then the explosion.
He ran from his backyard toward the crash site.
When he arrived, he found a house engulfed in flames.
He and other neighbors tried to get into the home, but they heard several loud pops coming from inside.
“Stuff was blowing up in the garage,” he said.
“It was pretty scary. It’s something you never think would happen. … There was a lot of crying, a lot of screaming (in the neighborhood). There were also people trying to run … in to help, but it was too late.”
Accidents are in the ‘fortunate/unfortunate‘ category of being alive, but this one seem particularity wretched.