BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A small plane that departed from Tehachapi and crashed into the front yard of a Fresno home left two people dead, including a Tehachapi man, said the owner of the plane.
The plane was registered to George W. Novinger, but Novinger said he had allowed Tim Farmer from Tehachapi to to fly the plane.
Fresno fire officials said the pilot and a 9-year-old boy died on impact after the plane went down just 800 feet from a runway at the Chandler Airport in southwest Fresno, Thursday.
No one at the home or on ground was injured. Fire officials said the boy and the pilot were the only ones inside the plane at the time.
Novinger said he believed the child aboard was Farmer's nephew.
Novinger also said he thinks Farmer took the plane up to Fesno, spent the holidays with his family and had offered his nephew a ride. That's when they flew down to Tehachapi and then headed back to Fresno.
According to officials, the plane is believed to have left Fresno for Tehachapi early Thursday morning. It was headed back from Kern County when the pilot clipped a tree and lost control.
Novinger said he has known Farmer a long time. In 1959 Novinger was teaching at Hoover High School and Farmer was in his physical education class.
"It's a very sad situation...I've known him a long time. He loved aviation and was a good pilot, he had well over 1500 hours of flying time. He loved to help people," said Novinger.
During a press conference Friday, the NTSB said the pilot was in his 70's and licensed with the FAA, but the plane was not registered to him.
KFSN-TV in Fresno has reported that the pilot may have been an uncle of the young boy.
The FAA and NTSB will continue to examine the scene.