The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a small plane crash in the South Lake Tahoe area which killed all five people on board including a Fresno family and another couple.
According to the F.A.A., the plane was a 1980 model Piper PA-32-301T. It has a single engine and can hold up to six people.
Registration records show it belonged to Francisco De La Mora. According to his relatives and a co-worker it was De La Mora who died in the crash along with his wife Lorena, their 6-year old daughter and two of their family friends.
The plane went down just before Saturday night shortly after taking off from the South Lake Tahoe airport. People on the ground reported hearing the aircraft having engine trouble.
"Some witnesses saw it attempt to turn and then dip, then crash and upon impact it burst into flames," said Lt. Pete Van Arnum of the El Dorado Co. Sheriff's Dept.
These aerial photos show the meadow in which the plane crashed. The wreckage sparked a fire which burned about an acre of land.
"It actually took about an hour and a half to get it out because it caught the surrounding trees on fire," said Lt. Van Arnum.
Investigators say they have limited information to work with because the pilot did not file a flight plan with the airport and there's not much physical evidence to examine.
"There’s not a whole lot left from it. The fire was very intense," said Lt. Van Arnum.CBS47 has learned that the plane's owner was a local businessman. De La Mora owns JDM Transport Inc., a trucking company in northwest Fresno. His 6-year old daughter who was on board was a student at Pinedale Elementary.
The National Transportation Safety Board says this same plane was involved in another crash when it was owned by someone else. The wreck occurred in 2005 near Pensacola, Florida. No one was injured in that crash.