Family of five dies in Bakersfield plane crash
December 21, 2015
Five members of a Northern California family died Saturday when their small plane crashed in an almond orchard near Bakersfield. Both parents, two daughters and a son died in the crash. [Mercury News]
The family was flying from San Jose to Las Vegas. A family friend identified the parents as Gilroy residents Jason and Olga Price. Jason Price, a former Civil Air Patrol pilot, was flying the plane.
On Saturday afternoon, Price called in a panicked Mayday to the Federal Aviation Administration. At the time, the plane was flying more than 250 mph, which is considered very fast, even for the high-performance Piper PA32 Turbo Lance aircraft Price was piloting.
The plane turned toward Bakersfield Airport, but it went off course and descended quickly and steeply from 15,000 feet. After the crash, debris scattered for a quarter mile.
The National Weather Service reported rain and clouds were in the area when the plane flew off the radar. Aviation authorities warned earlier in the day of icing above 5,000 feet.
The FAA is still investigating and has not announced a cause of the crash.
Bakersfield pilot Brad Pinnell said the two most likely causes would be tail icing or structural failure. Pinnell said he canceled a flight to San Luis Obispo earlier in the day because of the weather.
Jason Price was an engineer at Genesis Solutions in Gilroy, according to his LinkedIn profile. In the late 1990s, he led teams and served as a machinery technician in the U.S. Coast Guard. He also offered disaster and humanitarian relief while serving as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol.