Four Contra Costa County residents and a Los Angeles man have been identified as the victims in the crash of a twin-engine plane that left five people dead near a Santa Ana shopping center on Sunday, officials said.
The Orange County coroner’s office on Monday identified the victims as: Scott Shepherd, 53, of Diablo, Lara Shepherd, 42, of Diablo, Nasim Ghanadan, 29, of Alamo, Floria Hakimi, 62, of Danville and Navid Hakimi, 32, of Los Angeles.
The pilot of the Cessna 414 declared an emergency before the plane crashed in the parking lot of the South Coast Plaza shopping center near a Staples store, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Witnesses said they saw the plane turn before it suddenly began to dive toward the shopping center. Video taken by people on the ground and posted on social media shows a crumbled airplane with two broken sections and at least one body outside the aircraft.
The plane struck a parked car, but the occupant was inside a store and was not injured, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.
Lara Shepherd, Hakimi and Ghanadan were all Realtors with Pacific Union International, the eighth-largest real estate brokerage firm in the country, according to the company’s website. Lara’s husband, Scott, was also a real estate developer in the Bay Area, according to her profile on the Pacific Union website.
The Shepherds are survived by two children, according to Lara’s profile on the real estate site.
Pacific Union International, which is largely focused on the Bay Area and Northern California, began doing business in the Los Angeles area earlier this year.
FAA records show that the airplane was owned by Category III Aviation Corp., a real estate consulting firm in San Francisco, and was bound for John Wayne Airport, which is about a mile from the crash site. An FAA spokeswoman could not say where the flight departed from.
Category III Aviation Corp. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Witnesses and fire officials said there was no explosion when the plane slammed into the ground.
“We looked up to see the plane falling nose first,” Ella Pham, 20, of Santa Ana, said Sunday. “We really didn’t think it was a plane at first due to no crashing noise, but as soon as we saw people running from across the street we went to go check it out.”
“It was so heartbreaking just seeing the plane crumbled into pieces,” she said.