HARRISBURG, Ore. – The four people who died in a plane crash near Harrisburg Friday morning have been identified.
The pilot was identified as 67-year-old Mark Gregory Aletky, of Acton, California. The three passengers were a mother, father, and their son. They were identified as 42-year-old John A. Zitting, 37-year-old Karen Blackmore Zitting and 17-year-old John Brendan Zitting, all from Thousand Oaks, California.
The Zitting family hired Aletky to fly them from Van Nuys, California to Eugene, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Office. The plane was a 1984 single-engine Piper PA-46 and left Van Nuys at 7:22 a.m.
Investigators said the plane had flown past Eugene Airport when witnesses said for unknown reasons the plane suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field about two miles north of Harrisburg. Investigators do not know why plane flew north past Eugene Airport. The crash was reported at 10:53 a.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene late Friday afternoon. An investigation is ongoing.
Much of western Oregon was under a high wind warning Friday morning, with strong gusts knocking down trees and power lines.