Calif. family, pilot killed in Linn County plane crash

Friends say couple was traveling to UO with son

HARRISBURG, Ore. (AP) - Officials have identified four people from California killed in a small plane crash in western Oregon in which there were no survivors.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office on Saturday identified the pilot of the six-seat, single-engine plane that crashed Friday morning as 67-year-old Mark Gregory Aletky of Acton, California.

Officials say 42-year-old John A. Zitting of Thousand Oaks, California, hired Aletky to fly him and his wife and son to Eugene from Van Nuys, California.

Zitting's wife, 37-year-old Karen Blackmore Zitting and their 17-year-old son, John Brendan Zitting also died in the crash.

Authorities say witnesses reported seeing the plane flying low before turning and crashing into a grass field two miles north of Harrisburg.

Federal officials are investigating but haven't determined a cause of the crash.

Friends say three family members were on a college scouting trip when they died, The Oregonian/OregonLive reports.

The friends say they were headed to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon. The newspaper reports that John Brendan Zitting was interested in attending the university.

The father was president of TruNorthe LLC, a construction management company in California. Pilot Aletky worked at the company.

Sean Sullivan, marketing director for TruNorthe, tells the Oregonian/OregonLive: "They were great people."

Sullivan adds: "His son was going off to college and that's why they were going to Oregon." He adds that the younger Zitting, a senior at West Lake (California) High School was also considering the University of Arizona and other schools. The son was the couple's only child.

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