Final post: Floria Hakimi posted this picture to Instagram two hours before the plane crashed with the caption, ‘Flying out to LA’. Her friends paid tribute in to the ‘beautiful’ woman in the comments section
Two married couples and a 29-year-old woman have been identified as the victims killed when a plane crashed into a Staples parking lot in southern California.
One of the victims, Floria Hakimi, posted a final image on Instagram of her boarding the fateful flight near San Francisco with the caption ‘Flying out to LA’ two hours before the tragedy.
All five people aboard the plane worked for Pacific Union real estate agency in the Bay Area.
The pilot, identified as Scott Shepherd, declared an emergency just before the crash in Santa Ana which killed him.
The coroner identified the other victims as the pilot’s wife Lara Shepherd, husband and wife realtors Floria and Navid Hakimi and 29-year-old employee Nasim Ghanadan.
Horrified onlookers saw the plane nosedive into the ground in a Staples parking lot yesterday afternoon shortly after Mr Shepherd transmitted a distress call and requested permission for an emergency landing at John Wayne airfield in Orange County.
Dashcam footage has emerged showing the twin-propeller Cessna 414 and diving straight towards the ground in the final seconds before the crash.
The Orange County Fire Department said the plane’s engine cut out before it could make it to the airport.
When the engine failed the aircraft began free-falling from the sky before landing in an empty parked car outside of a Staples store at around 12.30pm.
It smashed into a car whose owner was shopping in Staples at the time and narrowly escaped the tragedy. Authorities have praised pilot Mr Shepherd for avoiding even more loss of life.
Mrs Hakimi posted a photo to Instagram showing her boarding a small aircraft around two hours before the crash with the caption: ‘Flying out to LA.’
Victims: Nasim Ghanadan (left), 29, and Lara Shepherd were two of the five Pacific Union employees killed when the small plane crashed into the parking lot
Both Floria and husband Navid Hakimi (pictured together on his birthday) were both killed in the horror smash on Sunday
Hero pilot: Lara Shepherd and pilot husband Scott both lost their lives in the tragedy. Scott was praised by the Orange County Fire Department for limiting the damage caused in the crash
Pacific Union is a luxury Californian real estate company. Their portfolio of properties in the Danville area, where the victims worked, ranges from $1.4m to $418m.
The flight took off in Concord, near the office where Ms Ghanadan works in northern California and was bound for John Wayne Airport in Orange County, southern California.
It’s not yet known why the engine cut out, but a captain at the Orange County Fire Authority praised the pilot for limiting the amount of damage caused in the smash.
Captain Tony Bommarito told CBS: ‘Nobody on the ground was injured, so I don’t know anything about what this pilot did or what he was thinking, but it could have been much more tragic.
‘This is a Sunday afternoon, and we have people shopping, so the fact that there are no injuries on the ground is a miracle in itself.’
Captain Steve Concialdi revealed that a group of firefighters were having lunch across the road as the plane crashed.
An investigator inspects the crushed plane which plunged head-first into a strip mall parking lot in Santa Ana on Sunday
The twin-engine Cessna aircraft nosedived into the parking lot after its engine cut out in mid-air, the fire department said
Five people died immediately when the plane, which was carrying real estate consultants, struck the ground
It smashed into this Chevrolet but luckily its owner was shopping in Staples at the time and narrowly escaped the tragedy
Orange County firemen work to clean up spilled fuel at the location but said there were no flames when they arrived at the scene
Onlookers stand behind police lines and look at the wreckage. No-one on the ground was injured in the tragedy
He said some of the crew ran out to see what was going on after hearing people yelling.
‘They didn’t see the impact but they heard the crash … they jumped on their truck and went over there. They were there within a minute,’ he told KTLA.
Christian Tornero, an employee at a store in the area, said he could hear the plane crash from inside his work.
He told KTLA: ‘I was working and I hear a loud thud. I thought it was like a semitruck that just tipped over or something.
Kathy Hayden, who was shopping nearby, said it sounded like a Mack Truck colliding with another vehicle, until she glanced over and saw the crushed plane, saying: ‘There was just nothing left and you could smell the gas.’
Shocking new footage shows the aircraft falling from the sky moments before five victims were killed.
Shortly after declaring an emergency on Sunday afternoon the plane suddenly nosedived into the parking lot.
After declaring an emergency the plane was filmed suddenly nosediving into the Santa Ana parking lot, just two miles from its destination, John Wayne Airport
Chilling dashcam footage captures the aircraft free-falling from the sky as shocked onlookers gasp in horror.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac said the pilot of the twin-engine Cessna 414 declared an emergency before crashing.
The aircraft struck the ground about a mile from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, which was its intended destination.
Photos from the scene show the plane upright but on its belly outside the South Coast Plaza shopping center in Santa Ana, where wreckage was seen in front of a Staples store.
The plane is registered to San Francisco-based real estate company Category III and had left Concord.
The four other victims have not yet been identified. Firemen were working to clean up spilled fuel at the location.
The cause of the incident will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Five people were killed on Sunday when their twin-engine plane (pictured) crashed into the parking lot of a shopping mall in southern California
Photos from the scene show the plane upright but on its belly outside the South Coast Plaza shopping center in Santa Ana
The ‘honest, cheerful’ realtor was described as having a ‘tenacious work ethic’ by her employers
The parking lot is shared by a CVS pharmacy, a Wells Fargo Bank branch, and a Michaels art-supply store among others.
The plane also hit a car (pictured), but no one was reported injured. It remains unclear what airport the plane had departed from
The incident reportedly occurred at around 12.30pm on Sunday.
The plane also hit a car, but no one in that vehicle was reported injured.
FAA records show that the plane was registered to a company based in San Francisco and had flown from the nearby suburb of Concord, according to The Orange County Register.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
The crash came nearly a year after a twine-engine plane taking off from John Wayne Airport burst into flames and crash landed on the 405 freeway.
A married couple had their lives saved when an off-duty firefighter pulled them from the aircraft.
FAA records show that the plane was registered to a company based in San Francisco and had flown from the nearby suburb of Concord
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac says the twin-engine Cessna 414 (pictured) declared an emergency before crashing