The Orange County coroner Monday released the names of the five people killed when a twin-engine aircraft crashed in a Santa Ana retail parking lot, near the South Coast Plaza shopping center in neighboring Costa Mesa.
One of the victims was identified by her family as 29-year-old Nasim Ghanadan, an Bay Area Realtor.
The others were Scott Shepherd, 53; Lara Shepherd, 42; and Floria Hakami, 62 — all from the Bay Area — and 32-year-old Navid Hakami of Los Angeles.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the crash scene about 11 p.m. Sunday and left about two hours later to await daylight, a videographer reported from the scene. Santa Ana police officers guarded the cordoned-off crash scene.
No one was hurt on the ground as the twin-engine Cessna 414 aircraft clipped an unoccupied car, but “fortunately, that person was inside the store shopping at the time of impact,” Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito said at a 2:15 p.m. Sunday news conference.
The plane went down at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday into the parking lot of a shopping area in the 3800 block of South Bristol Street, about a mile northwest from John Wayne Orange County Airport, where the aircraft was headed.
“It looked like it came down abruptly,” Bommarito said at a 5 p.m. news conference. “There is a small debris field.”
The nearby intersection of Sunflower Avenue at Bristol Street was closed in all four directions as National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators scrambled to the crash.
A SigAlert shutting down the intersection was lifted Sunday evening, Santa Ana police said.
The 1973 Cessna was registered to San Francisco-based Category III Aviation Corp., FAA records show. It had been flown from the Bay Area suburb of Concord, FAA data revealed.
Cessna 414 planes began operations in 1968. They have a range of 1,528 miles and a top speed of 270 miles per hour, according to Internet research.
The death toll originally was believed to be three, but was upped to five as firefighters examined the crash.
The one parked car in the crowded parking area hit by the plane was destroyed, Bommarito said.
The plane was carrying 100 octane gas, which spilled during the crash, OCFA Capt. Steve Concialdi said. Fire crews remained on the scene to clean up the spilled fuel.
“I don’t know anything about what this pilot did, or what he was thinking, but it could have been much more tragic,” Bommarito said. “This was a Sunday afternoon and we have people shopping, so the fact that we have no injuries on the ground is a miracle in itself.”
The FAA arrived on the scene about 4 p.m. and the National Transportation Safety Board representatives were expected Monday evening, Bommarito said.
OCFA firefighters and coroner’s personnel had removed all the bodies from the wreckage by about 5:30 p.m., Concialdi said.