4 family members killed in single-engine plane crash in California

Feb. 13 (UPI) — Four family members were killed when their small aircraft crashed outside Los Angeles on Sunday.

Thomas Hastings, 65, was flying his single-engine Cirrus VK-30 home after a weekend trip to Las Vegas with his daughter, 27-year-old Amber Hill; her husband, 25-year-old Jacob Hill; and her daughter, 9-year-old Madison Hastings Saxelby, the Los Angeles Times reported.

All four died after the plane crashed into a side of a mountain in Aqua Dulce, Calif.

The family was spending the weekend visiting other family members in Las Vegas before they were returning home near the airport in Van Nuys, Calif., CBS LA reported. Hastings’ wife, Joyce Hastings, had been with the family in Las Vegas but decided to drive back in order to stay for an extra day to spend more time with family there.

The Hastings’ son, Jake Hastings, said his father had about 50 years of flying experience and got his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.

Thomas was also a mechanical engineer who built his Cirrus VK-30 over a course of nine years, beginning in 1990.

Jake said his father had since flew the plane all over the country.

“It was built to be a fast, long distance plane,” he said.

The reason for the crash has not yet been determined, but the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation.

“It’s a crazy thing to think about, but I feel like everything happens for a reason,” he told KTLA-TV. “We’re at peace with it and doing the best we can.”