Authorities investigating what factors played a role in Visalia plane crash

KSEE24 News

VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE) – We now know the identities of the 4 people that died in a plane crash that happened over the weekend.

Investigators say the crash happened minutes after taking off, near highway 99, just west of The Visalia Airport.

“We approach every investigation with three things, we look at the pilot who operated the aircraft, the aircraft itself, and the operating environment,” says Peter Knudson with the NTSB.

Wreckage from Saturday night’s plance crash was slightly visible Monday morning, despite the thick fog.

Authorities are investigating whether similar weather conditions that night plyed a rile in the crash.

“So we’ll look at the weather forecast, what was the weather at the time, visibility at that time,” says Knudson.

Investigators say the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft, carrying 4, crashed into a field shortly after take off.

Monday morning, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were on scene, documenting  and collecting evidence.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as 78-year-old David Chelini, his nephew, 58-year-old Steven Chelini, and his two daughters, 

46-year-old Karen Baker and 48-year-old Donna Chelini.

All victims are from the Sacramento area.

According to an FAA database, the plane was registered to David Chelini, one of the victims in the crash, but it is unknown if he was the pilot at the time.

Investigators say it could take a while to find out the exact cause of the crash.

The plane would be removed to a secure location where investigators will continue their examination.

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