75-Year-Old Nevada Man ID’d as Pilot in Yorba Linda Plane Crash; DNA to Be Used to ID Victims in Home

A 75-year-old man was identified Monday as the pilot who was killed in a plane crash in Yorba Linda that also claimed the lives of four others inside a home.

Antonio Pastini is seen in a photo posted to his Facebook page on Nov. 23, 2017.

Antonio Pastini is seen in a photo posted to his Facebook page on Nov. 23, 2017.

Antonio Pastini, of Gardnerville, Nevada, was the sole occupant of the twin-engine Cessna 414A that broke apart midair around 1:45 p.m. in the area of Crestknoll and Glendale drives, officials said.

Debris rained down over the residential neighborhood, setting one home ablaze.

Four people — two males and two females — were killed inside the two-story house.

Neighbors told KTLA they were a husband and wife with their daughter and son-in-law, but the decedents had yet to be positively identified by coroner's officials.

The residents were preparing to host a Super Bowl party when the crash occurred took place, according to neighbors.

“Based on initial information received by the individuals who survived the incident, we believe the individuals were members of a family attending a gathering," said Lt. Cory Martino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Martino told reporters that DNA would be used to identify the remaining four victims, a process that could take some time.

“Unfortunately, the condition of the additional four deceased will require the use of additional measures such as DNA to obtain official identification," he said.

An National Transportation Safety Board official inspects the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a Yorba Linda neighborhood, killing the pilot and four others, on Feb. 4, 2019, in an image released by the agency.

An National Transportation Safety Board official inspects the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a Yorba Linda neighborhood, killing the pilot and four others, on Feb. 4, 2019, in an image released by the agency.

The small plane had departed the Fullerton Municipal Airport around 1:35 p.m., just 10 minutes before it crashed, according to Maya Smith, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Preliminary radar data showed the aircraft climbed to about 7,800 feet before it began “rapidly descending toward the ground," Smith said.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane come out of a cloud at a high speed before parts of the plane — including its wings and tail — began to break off, according to Smith.

“We’re dealing with an in-flight break-up, and that actually is consistent with this large debris field that we have around this area," she said.

The investigation, she stressed, is ongoing, and the cause of the crash was not immediately known. The plane's wreckage was being taken to Phoenix, where it will be examined.

Investigators will also look take a look at Pastini's history as a pilot, his flight experience and medical records, as well as environmental factors such as weather, according to Smith.

The Sheriff's Department initially identified Pastini as a retired Chicago police officer, but spokeswoman Carrie Braun told KTLA Tuesday his credentials were not legitimate.

'Like a Bomb Had Gone Off' 

A house destroyed by flames is seen shortly after a small plane crash in Yorba Linda on Feb. 3, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

A house destroyed by flames is seen shortly after a small plane crash in Yorba Linda on Feb. 3, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

In interviews with KTLA, witnesses recounted a terrifying scene as the plane caught fire and appeared to disintegrate, raining down wreckage on the residential neighborhood as stunned bystanders looked helplessly on.

"I come out ... it's raining plane parts from the sky," resident Jared Bocachica told KTLA. "The plane didn't hit and scatter, it blew up and hit the house."

Residents in the neighborhood said they heard a loud noise; some also reported shaking.

“It was like a bomb had gone off in the front of the house," said Nancy Mehl, whose house was damaged by some of the falling plane parts.

Dave Elfver, who lives across from Mehl, told KTLA that a piece of the wreck hit the ground before it went into her house.

“There’s a hole in the street, you can tell where it bounced,” he told KTLA on Monday. “And then it hit the neighbor’s house across the street. But it just missed our house. I don’t know — looks like inches.”

The debris ignited a massive inferno at one home, quickly engulfing the two-story structure before spreading to a second home, according to the Fire Authority.

An National Transportation Safety Board official inspects the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a Yorba Linda neighborhood, killing the pilot and four others, on Feb. 4, 2019, in an image released by the agency.

An National Transportation Safety Board official inspects the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a Yorba Linda neighborhood, killing the pilot and four others, on Feb. 4, 2019, in an image released by the agency.

One witness said he ran from his house toward the burning residence and saw a woman fleeing, her hair singed from the flames.

Another neighbor, Tracy Gaither, said the inferno actually resembled "water spilling out of the windows."

"It wasn't just burning inside, it was billowing out," Gaither said.

Two people were hospitalized after suffering burns, and a firefighter was treated for minor injuries, according to officials.

Video posted to social media showed panicked residents rushing about the street as flames and smoke engulfed the home. A person could be seen using a garden hose to extinguish a fire from a wing that had landed in the middle of a road.

That man was Jim Mehl, Nancy's husband. He ran out of the house after a piece of the plane slammed into their home and immediately went outside to assess the situation.

“Right off the bat, I’m going to go around, see if I can do something," he recalled on Monday. "So I came around the corner, of course the wing’s on fire, so I grab the hose, trying to get that on, because the other was fully engulfed.”

Debris from the plane was scattered over a four-block area, officials said. The fuselage landed in the backyard not far from the burning home.

In addition to NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating the crash.

Anyone with debris on their property is asked to call the Sheriff's Department 714-647-7000.

KTLA's Jennifer Thang and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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