A plane that crashed into a foggy mountaintop, killing a Las Vegas LDS Church youth leader and eight family members on a holiday trip to Disneyland, failed to clear the ridge by less than 200 feet, authorities said.
The wreckage of the chartered twin-engine Cessna 402 was found Monday near the top of a 2,270-foot ridge overlooking Hagador Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California.The plane crashed Sunday, scattering bodies and debris over a 100-yard area in the Cleveland National Forest 45 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
"There were toys in the airplane, including two little stuffed Mickey Mouses," said Mickey Worthington of the Riverside County coroner's office.
The dead were tentatively identified as Michael Cranson, 36, a Las Vegas police officer; his wife, Raeann, 33; their five children - Shauna, 15; Stephanie, 14; Nicole, 12; Joshua, 11; and Kyle, 7 - James Montano, 24, and Cynthia Montano, 23. The Montanos were identified in Las Vegas as Raeann Cranson's sister and brother-in-law.
Also killed in the crash was the pilot, identified as Hassan Berro, co-owner of Las Vegas Flyers charter line.
"They found Michael, and they found his police badge," said Merrill Pugmire, who is bishop of the family's LDS Church ward in Las Vegas.
The plane left McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Sunday morning and went down about 20 miles short of its destination, Orange County John Wayne Airport. The plane vanished from radar screens that afternoon.
"The bodies and baggage were ripped apart and scattered over the peak," said KNX-AM reporter Bob Tur, who discovered the wreckage during a helicopter flight. He said the fuselage was twisted, broken into several pieces and partly buried.
Cranson was president of an LDS young men's group and had been active in youth work and Scouting, he said.
"They were very excited, they had been planning this as a family weekend get-together," said family friend Lora Dee Christensen, who spent Monday morning at the Cranson home. "They were very devoted to their church and always very concerned about each other. They were just a beautiful family."