29-Year-Old Woman Among 5 Killed in Small Plane Crash in Santa Ana

Update: Authorities on Monday morning identified all five victims killed in the crash. Read KTLA's latest story here

A small plane crashed at a parking lot in Santa Ana on Sunday afternoon, killing all five people aboard — including a 29-year-old woman visiting from the Bay Area.

The Cessna 414 declared an emergency and went down at a mall parking lot near John Wayne Airport at 12:28 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The twin-engine aircraft crashed near the South Coast Plaza shopping mall, in the 3900 block of Bristol Street, said Tony Bommarito, a spokesman for Orange County Fire Authority.

All five people on the plane were pronounced dead at the scene, within just seconds of the crash, said Captain Steve Concialdi of O.C. Fire Authority.

One of the victims was identified by her family as Nasim Ghanadan, a 29-year-old real estate consultant who lived in the Bay Area. None of the other victims had been identified to KTLA as of Sunday evening.

A plane crashed at a parking lot in Santa Ana and hit a vehicle on Aug. 5, 2018. (Credit: OC Hawk)

A plane crashed at a parking lot in Santa Ana and hit a vehicle on Aug. 5, 2018. (Credit: OC Hawk)

Video of the scene showed the crushed plane sitting in the parking lot of a Staples office supply store. While the plane hit a vehicle, the driver was actually shopping inside Staples at the time, Concialdi said.

He said a group of firefighters were having lunch across the street in the moments just before the crash, when one of them heard some yelling.

"And somebody — one of the patrons — yelled, and they looked up and saw the plane coming down towards the parking lot," Concialdi said.

"So they didn’t see the impact but they heard the crash ... they jumped on their truck and went over there," he said of the firefighters. "They were there within a minute."

He said the first responders worried there would be more people injured or killed on the ground, given how busy that shopping mall can be. While they were relieved to find no one in the car that the plane had slammed into, they soon realized everyone in the plane was already dead, Concialdi said.

The crash did not ignite a fire, but the sound of the impact could be heard from inside nearby businesses. Christian Tornero, an employee at a store in the area, said he could clearly hear it.

"I was working and I hear a loud thud. I thought it was like a semitruck that just tipped over or something," Tornero said.

Kathy Hayden, who was shopping nearby, said it sounded like a Mack Truck running something over — until she looked over and saw some mangled remnants of the plane.

"There was just nothing left and you could smell the gas," she said.

The aircraft was heading to John Wayne Airport, but it was unclear where it was coming from, airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson said.

All operations at the airport were normal as of 1 p.m., Thompson added.

There were no injuries on the ground, according to OCFA.

Authorities shut down South Bristol Street between Sunflower Avenue and Callen's Common.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the incident, with the exact cause of the crash still unknown.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

KTLA's Steve Granado and Marissa Wenzke contributed to this story.

Correction: A previous version of this story misquoted an official. This post has been updated.