2 Men Killed in Santa Paula Plane Crash Are Identified: Sheriff

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The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has identified the two men killed in a plane crash in Santa Paula this past Saturday.

Palmdale resident Ted Dopler, 60, and Jody Smith, 58, of Lancaster have been identified as the two killed, although a Sheriff’s Department news release did not offer information about how the two men knew each other.

They died of “multiple blunt force injuries” sustained during the crash, officials said, citing autopsies performed by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office. They died upon impact, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said.

On Saturday, the plane left earlier in the day from Rosamond Skypark Airport in the Antelope Valley before crashing in Santa Paula just after 2 p.m., authorities said. Just barely missing several houses nearby, it came down in an area near the 17800 block of South Mountain Road, officials said at the time.

The plane was identified by officials with the National Transportation Safety Board as an RV-6a, a small single-engine plane that’s sold in kit form, as explained on the website of its maker, Van’s Aircraft. A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told the Associated Press the plane was homebuilt.

Authorities said it’s still unclear if the aircraft was headed for Santa Paula Airport, which is less than a mile away from the crash scene, or another destination.

Meanwhile, NTSB officials are investigating the crash and searching for witnesses. Anyone who may have seen the incident or has other information can contact NTSB investigators at witness@ntsb.gov.


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