Linn County deputies identify fatal plane crash victims


Linn County investigators have identified four people killed in a plane crash near Eugene on Friday morning.

The pilot, Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, died along with three passengers: 42-yer-old John A. Zitting, his wife Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their son John Brendan Zitting, age 17. The family is from Thousand Oaks, California. The pilot is from Acton, California.

The four individuals were the only occupants aboard the single-engine, six-seat aircraft.

Officials said Aletky was hired by Park City Aviation for the flight and was a certified pilot. The 1984 Piper PA-46-310P took off from Van Nuys Friday morning at 7:22 a.m. The Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center reported receiving the call at 10:53 a.m.

Witnesses described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, about two miles north of Harrisburg. Authorities said it is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport, but neighbors fear severe weather may have played a role.

Officials said the wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend. Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted Saturday. The investigation is on-going as to the cause of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene yesterday at 4:40 p.m. to assist with the investigation. Linn County Sheriff deputies were also assisted by the Harrisburg Fire Department.

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