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Third Grader at Bullard Talent ID'd as Plane Crash Victim

The Fresno County Coroner's Office has identified Finn Thompson, 8, as the young victim of the plane crash Thursday night in Southwest Fresno.

The Fresno County Coroner's Office has identified 8-year-old Finn Thompson as the young victim of Thursday night's single-engine plane crash in Southwest Fresno.

Finn was a third grader at Bullard Talent K-8 school.

Fresno Unified School District spokesperson Susan Bedi released a statement Saturday that reads in part, "He was well-liked by his classmates and teachers. Psychologists will be on campus to support students and staff when they return from winter break. Please keep his family in your thoughts during this very difficult time."

A Tehachapi man in his 70s who is believed to be Finn's great uncle was also killed in the fiery crash. The Fresno County Coroner's Office has not released the identity of the pilot.

Thursday night, the pilot had radioed in when they were only 10 miles south of the Chandler Executive Airport in Fresno, said Joshua Cawthra, lead investigator of this case with the National Transportation and Safety Board.

Before attempting to land the plane, the pilot circled around the airport, clipping a tall tree in the backyard of a house near the airport.

"From there the aircraft was observed by witnesses and by radar data to do another left 180 degree turn back toward the runway," Cawthra said.

The plane then crashed into the front yard of a home right outside of the runway.

As investigators try to determine what went wrong, the attention now turns to safety and prevention for those in the aviation community.

"What we look at is what kind of circumstances, what situations could lead up to that type of a predicament for me? So it's a way to engage our own safety habits to improve the margin of safety that we have to hopefully prevent that from happening," said Doug Betts, a seasoned aviator and FAA safety expert who is part of the Central Valley Aviation Association.

The NTSB continues to investigate this crash. They'll release a preliminary report within a few days, but a complete report can take anywhere from six months to one year.

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