CORONA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have identified four people killed in the crash of a small plane at a Southern California airfield.
The Riverside County coroner’s office named the dead as Paula Mitchell, 61, of La Mirada; Daniel Rodriguez, 70, of Whittier; Teresa Rodriguez, 63, of Whittier; and Joseph Zingali, 85, of Torrance.
The four were aboard a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza that crashed and burned Wednesday near one end of the runway at Corona Municipal Airport, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
A witness said the plane was taking off, got no more than a few feet off the ground and struck a fence. It then flipped over and quickly caught fire.
People rushed over with fire extinguishers but the aircraft was engulfed in flames.
It was not known who was at the controls.
Eddie Rodriguez of La Mirada told KTLA-TV that the Rodriguezes were his brother and sister-in-law and that Mitchell was a friend.
Danny Rodriguez was a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer and an experienced pilot, Eddie Rodriguez said.
Teresa Rodriguez was a “marvelous” and kind woman who worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years, he said.
Eddie Rodriguez told KNBC-TV that his brother had invited him to go on the flight, which was on a friend’s plane.
“I said I’ll take a rain-check on that and he said, ‘OK, OK,’’’ he said.
Eddie Rodriguez said his brother flew so much that whenever he heard of a plane crash he would leave a phone message telling his brother to call when he got back.
“Of course he didn’t call,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.