San Diego plane crash killed two pilots, two flight nurses

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San Diego plane crash killed two pilots, two flight nurses

The four people killed in a jet crash near San Diego were the pilots and two flight nurses who were heading back to their home base after flying a patient from Arizona, according to a report.

Tina Ward, the wife of recently retired Oceanside Fire Chief Joe Ward, was identified as one of the nurses aboard the doomed Learjet 35A, according to an Instagram message posted by the department’s union.

“It is with heavy hearts that the Oceanside Fire Department and their fire family would like to extend our deepest condolences to our recently retired Chief Ward, his family, and all family and friends of the Aeromedevac flight crew N880Z,” the Oceanside Firefighters Association 3736 said.

The Tuesday post included a photograph of the smiling couple in an embrace.

Sources told CBS News 8 that the plane was carrying two pilots and two nurses on a return flight to Gillespie Field after taking a patient to Orange County from Arizona.

The names of the other three victims have not yet emerged.

In a conversation with the tower moments before the tragedy, the pilot asked for the runway lights to be turned brighter. The controller advised him that they were already at full brightness.

Tina Ward.
Tina Ward was identified as one of the nurses aboard the doomed Learjet 35A.
Instagram/oceansidefire_3736
The jet was returning home from a medical transport trip with two nurses and two pilots onboard.
oceansidefire_3736/Instagram

Cockpit audio captured the pilot on instrument approach to the airport before requesting a visual approach to another runway.

Seconds after receiving the clearance, he was heard yelling, “Oh, s—! Oh s—!”

The plane then crashed into a residential neighborhood in the Bostonia area of El Cajon – about 1.5 miles from the runway.

Residents said they could hear the plane in trouble right before the impact.  

Plane crash.
The pilots and two flight nurses were heading back to their home base after flying a patient from Arizona.
James Wall via Storyful

Justin Dow, who lives nearby, told CBS 8 that the weather at the time of the crash was terrible.

“It was super foggy. It was raining, it was raining really bad when he went down,” he told the outlet.

Robert Katz, a commercial pilot and flight instructor, told CBS 8 that the inclement weather most certainly played a roles in the disaster.

“It is possible that this pilot found himself back in the clouds, very low to the ground, in a steep turn and became instantly disoriented,” Katz told the outlet.

Plane crash.
The fiery aftermath of the plane crash.
James Wall via Storyful

But he also suggested the possibility that the pilot turned too sharply for the runway, causing what’s known as an accelerated stall.

“The airplane will stop flying and it falls out of the sky like a rock,” he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

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