The four people who died when a small plane slammed into a Yorba Linda home were identified Wednesday, while the investigation continued into the cause of the crash.
The victims were identified as 85-year-old Roy Lee Anderson of Yorba Linda, 68-year-old Dahlia Marlies Leber Anderson of Yorba Linda, 48-year-old Stacie Norene Leber of Corona and 58-year-old Donald Paul Elliott of Norco.
Their families released a statement saying they were “devastated by our loss of our family members, who will be greatly missed.”
“Our family bond is tight and each member lost in this tragedy represents more than just one role within our family,” according to the statement. “We lost parents, grandparents, great-parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. The home lost was a beacon for so many family and friends where many celebrations were held.
“We sant to thank our extended family and friends who have provided amazing support, kindness and compassion. It takes a village.”
The family thanked the first responders and neighbors who tried to help after the crash, and all the agencies “who have worked so tirelessly since the incident to provide us with assistance and answers.”
“As we deal with the reality that lies ahead, we ask that the news media please respect our privacy during this extremely difficult time.”
A candlelight vigil in honor of the crash victims is planned for Thursday night at Glenknoll Elementary School in the outdoor courtyard.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the 75-year-old pilot and restaurant owner who crashed into the home had fake credentials on him identifying him as a retired Chicago police officer.
The 1981 twin-engine Cessna 414A piloted by Antonio Pastini of Gardnerville, Nevada, nose-dived onto the 19000 block of Crestknoll Drive at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, about 10 minutes after departing from Fullerton Municipal Airport, according to National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Eliott Simpson.
Sheriff’s deputies at the crash scene found the Chicago Police Department badge and retirement papers on the pilot, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun.
After consulting with Chicago police Monday night, it appeared the credentials were fake, according to Braun. According to various media reports, the badge he was carrying had been missing since 1978, although it was unclear if it had been lost or stolen.
An investigation was also continuing into the cause of the fiery crash.
Radar data indicate the plane made a left turn and climbed 7,800 feet before crashing into the two-story home, leaving the cabin in a ravine behind the house and debris scattered over four blocks, Simpson said.
Pastini, who was flying solo, died at the scene, as did the four people in the home, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Cory Martino said. The bodies of the four occupants of the home were badly burned, delaying their identification.
Two injured victims were hospitalized with moderate burn injuries, and one firefighter suffered a minor ankle injury.
NTSB investigator Maja Smith told reporters that many witnesses reported seeing the plane’s wings and tail fall off before it crashed.
NTSB investigators combed the neighborhood this week, gathering evidence and picking up the pieces of the aircraft, which were to be taken to a storage facility in Phoenix for further examination.
A preliminary crash report was expected to be available in 10-14 days.
Torrance resident Julia Ackley, one of the pilot’s daughters, told the Los Angeles Times her father was a veteran pilot who regularly flew to Southern California to visit her and other family members.
She told NBC4 that she left a message for her dad on Sunday night “and asked him to call me when he got home safely; the only call I got was from the sheriff’s department.”
“He’s been flying for over 50 years and this was a horrible tragedy and a freak accident,” she told Channel 4.
She said her father had four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
On Pastini’s Facebook account on Jan. 27, he discussed his volunteer work with Angel Flight, which provides airplane rides for the needy to get to doctor appointments.
“Now I want to help more of those who need help, so I have an idea,” he wrote. “You want to go flying? Want an easy trip somewhere? Coordinate with me so we can take a child for treatment or bring medicine or blood somewhere where it will save a life. Pay for the fuel and together I will take you where you want to go and we can help way more people. If you just save one person isn’t it worth it, and this way we can save many.”
In a Nov. 26, 2008, Nevada Appeal news article about a restaurant that Pastini owned at the time called Carson City Diner & Catering, he told the newspaper that he had retired after 21 years on the Chicago police force.
“I loved it,” he said. “I loved my friends, I loved where I lived, I loved Mayor (Richard J.) Daley.”
Pastini told the newspaper that after he retired, he moved to northern Nevada to get into the food industry, where he worked as a child with his mother, a chef.
His first restaurant, he said, was Chicago Express in Reno in 1986.
“A couple of cops came by and found out I used to be a cop too, and it became a cop hangout,” Pastini said.
The newspaper reported he opened three more locations and then sold out in the late 1990s after he was diagnosed with cancer. When he recovered, he got back into the restaurant business, the newspaper reported.
At the time of his death, he owned Kim Lee’s Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar. An employee who answered the phone at the eatery on Monday declined comment, citing the family’s wishes.