Fatal Airplane Crash Claims Lives of Four Sacramento Area Residents

Fatal Accident Near Visalia Municipal Airport Occurs During Heavy Fog

A fatal airplane crash claimed the lives of four people from the area of Sacramento on December 4. The plane accident occurred in Tulare County, just after 6:30 p.m. when the airplane went down in a field near the Visalia Municipal Airport. According to a report issued by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, those who died in the crash were identified as 78-year-old David Chelini, his daughters Donna Chelini, 48, and Karen Baker, 46, and his nephew, 58-year-old Steven Chelini.

Additional Details About the Airplane Crash

According to Sergeant Jesse Cox, first responders were called to the accident site but had problems locating the airplane wreckage due to dense fog and darkness. Records by the Federal Aviation Administration show that the plane that crashed was a Beechcraft Bonanza, which was registered under the elder Chelini’s name. About four minutes elapsed between the time the plane took off and the 911 call came in. 

Fatal Airplane Crash Being Investigated by Federal Authorities

No information was released on the planned destination. Authorities with the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will be conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the fatal airplane crash.

How a Fatal Airplane Crash Is Investigated

Investigators with the FAA and NTSB coordinate with local authorities and first responders to determine how a fatal airplane crash occurred. The following are among their areas of investigation:

  • The scene of the fatal airplane crash is photographed and videotaped to preserve as evidence.
  • Eyewitnesses to the accident are interviewed.
  • Charts are drawn of the debris field and angle at which the airplane struck.
  • Salvageable parts of the plane are recovered and reconstructed, which helps identify damaged or missing parts.
  • The flight record of the plane is examined, including previous trips.
  • The black box is recovered, which tracks the power settings, communication with the tower, instrument readings, and more.

Private Planes and What Leads to a Crash

Almost four crashes a day occur involving private airplanes in the United States. Many of these accidents result in serious injuries or even fatalities. The major reasons for a fatal airplane crash include:

  • Pilot training may be inadequate, and the flyer may not be approved for the conditions at hand.
  • A medical problem can lead to a fatal airplane crash.
  • Pilot error is a less common cause of a plane crash but does occur.
  • A defective part in the plane can cause a system component to fail.
  • Engine failure that leads to losing control of the airplane occurs.
  • Weather conditions such as snow, rain or fog can lead to a plane crash.
  • Improper or poor maintenance can lead to a fatal accident. In these cases, the mechanic in charge of maintenance may be responsible for the accident.

Investigating a Fatal Airplane Crash

At AutoAccident.com, we work with federal and local authorities to determine the cause of a fatal airplane crash. When negligence is found to be the cause, the family of the decedent/decedents may wish to find out about filing a claim for wrongful death. Although it will not ease their grief and suffering, it can help bring them a sense of justice and closure as well as assist them in avoiding financial difficulties.

Related Articles by Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer Ed Smith:

Wrongful Death Attorneys in Sacramento

I am Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death attorney. If you lost loved ones in an accident, we can offer you compassionate, free and friendly advice when you call us at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400. An online contact form is available also if you prefer to message us.

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