HARRISBURG, Ore. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Officials have identified four people from the Los Angeles County area who were killed when a small plane bound from Van Nuys crashed north of Eugene in Western Oregon. There were no survivors.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday identified the pilot of the six-seat, single-engine plane that crashed Friday morning as 67-year-old Mark Gregory Aletky of Acton, Calif.
Officials say 42-year-old John A. Zitting of Thousand Oaks, California, hired Aletky to fly him and his wife and son to Eugene from Van Nuys.
Thirty-seven-year-old Karen Blackmore Zitting and 17-year-old John Brendan Zitting also died in the crash. He was reportedly interested in attending the University of Oregon.
Authorities say witnesses reported seeing the plane flying low before turning and crashing into a grass field two miles north of Harrisburg, about ten miles from the Eugene airport.
Zitting was president of Tru-Northe, a Thousand Oaks construction company.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen reports the plane left Van Nuys Airport en route to Eugene, Ore. but never made it.
He reported from Acton Saturday night. That is where he spoke to the pilot’s widow.
Mary Aletky did not want to speculate on the cause of the crash.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said, “he would never panic. And he would always think about the people in the planeand their safety.”
She said her husband had about 27 years of flying experience.
“He was my life and he was my love and I don’t want to believe it’s true,” she said.
Nguyen was there when flowers started arriving at the Aletky home.
Zitting called the Aletky home Thursday to book the flight for his family. He had been working for Zitting only several weeks.
“My husband said the weather is kind of bad, but he said it’s not weather I can’t handle, that I haven’t flown in before.” she said.
Federal officials are investigating but haven’t determined a cause of the crash.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)