The Orange County coroner’s office has released the names of the three victims who died when a helicopter crashed into a Newport Beach home, and federal investigators have said there were no distress call before the crash.
The victims were: Joseph Anthony Tena, 60, of Newport Beach; Kimberly Lynne Watzman, 45, of Santa Monica; and Brian R. Reichelt, 56, of Hollywood, Florida.
Watzman and Reichelt were both employed with The Standard chain of boutique hotels, which has locations in West Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles, a company spokesperson confirmed.
Watzman had worked with the company for nearly 11 years and was serving as general manager for the West Hollywood hotel.
Watzman’s brother told KTLA he lives next door to his sister in Santa Monica. Being the general manager at the Standard in West Hollywood was her dream job, Ryan Watzman said.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better sister,” he said. “She was beloved by many people, including all the folks she worked with at the Standard.”
Reichelt had worked more than six years for the hotel’s parent company, Standard International, as a regional finance director.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our friends,” Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International, said in a statement. “Our focus now is on supporting their loved ones and our team during this difficult time.”
It’s not clear how Tena knew the other two victims.
The Robinson 44 helicopter they were aboard crashed under unknown circumstances into a home at the corner of Shearwater Place and Egret Court about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The aircraft had departed from John Wayne Airport on its way to Catalina Island when it crashed shortly after takeoff, National Transportation Safety Board Senior Investigator Joshua Cawthra said Wednesday morning.
A total of five people were involved in the crash, including four aboard the helicopter and one bystander on the ground who received minor injuries.
The pilot and two passengers were killed in the crash, and a third passenger was seriously injured, Cawthra said.
It’s not yet know which person was the pilot, but of the names of the deceased, only Joseph “Pepe” Tena has a pilot’s license, Federal Aviation Administration records show. His license to fly a helicopter as a private pilot was issued in August 2014.
Cawthra said no distress call was ever made from the helicopter before it went down. Maintenance records were being examined Wednesday.
The aircraft is owned by Spitzer Helicopter and was under lease to Revolution Aviation, which offers flight training and tours, according to its website. The flight that crashed was not part of a class or sightseeing tour, Cawthra said.
A probable cause report from the NTSB typically takes months if not more than a year to be completed, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Orange County Global Medical Center received a patient from the crash scene, hospital spokesman Jeff Corless confirmed. The patient is being treated and is in critical but stable condition, Corless said.
Officials from both the NTSB and the FAA are investigating the crash. On Wednesday, they were combing through the wreckage for clues.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer and Erika Martin contributed to this article.