Plane Accident Victims Identified as Flight Nurses & Pilots – CA
December 30, 2021

San Diego County, California (EL Cajon CA) – On Monday, December 27, 2021, two flight nurses and two pilots died earlier this week when an airplane collided and exploded near San Diego.

Bad weather caused Learjet 35A to crash in an isolated area of El Cajon east of Gillespie Field, according to officials it was scheduled to land. As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the twin-engine plane was registered under El Cajon-based Med Jet LLC. Two of the fatalities were named as flight nurses Tina Ward and Laurie Gentz by acquaintances. Douglas James Grande, 45-year-old, and Julian Jorge Bugaj, 67-year-old, were confirmed as other fatalities by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. All four victims were employees of Aeromedevac Air Ambulance.

The plane, which had previously flown to Lake Havasu, took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County and was on its way to Gillespie Field in El Cajon, some 78 miles (125.5 kilometers) south when it collided. Nobody was wounded on the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating but didn’t immediately release any information. Data from the National Weather Service showed fog and mist at Gillespie shortly before the accident.

The pilot aborted an instrument flight rules approach to one runway and asked for a visual flight rules approach to another. After the switch was flipped and new orders were issued, the pilot requested that the field lights be switched on, but was told that they were already at full power. The pilot yelled three times and exclaimed three times.

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