Four Winnetka family members killed in Agua Dulce plane crash

First responders at the scene of a plane crash in Agua Dulce on Sunday Feb. 11, where 4 people were reported dead. Austin Dave/ The Signal
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By Jim Holt & Georgia Rios
Signal Staff Writers

The crash of a small plane in Agua Dulce claimed the lives of four people Sunday, including the pilot who built the “experimental” plane he flew.

Thomas “Tom” Gordon Hastings, 65, of Winnetka, was flying his fixed-wing single-engine Cirrus VK-30 plane from Henderson, Nevada, to Van Nuys over the weekend, when the plane crashed in Agua Dulce.

Three members of the pilot’s family died as a result of the crash were Hastings; his 27-year-old daughter Amber Hill; her husband, Jacob Hill, age 25; and the pilot’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Madison Hastings-Saxelby.

Lt. Larry Dietz, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, listed Winnetka as the residence of all four deceased family members.

The crash happened shortly after 10:45 a.m. Sunday, almost 8 miles south of the Agua Dulce Airpark.

Whether there was any attempt to land at the airfield in Agua Dulce is one of many questions investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to ask.

At 10:51 a.m., deputies with the Palmdale Sheriff’s station responded to an “aircraft accident” call in the area of 30500 block of Briggs Road, in Agua Dulce, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Palmdale deputies responded to the area and discovered a small aircraft had crashed.

About 20 firefighters responded to the scene of the crash, according to Joey Marron, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Fire officials confirmed that there were three crash victims dead on arrival. Firefighters performed CPR on the fourth, but was then pronounced dead shortly after.

Further details of the crash will be made available pending an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

A nixel issued by the NTSB Sunday said: “NTSB investigating crash of Cirrus VK-30 in Agua Dulce, California.”

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a certificate for the “experimental… amature built” plane on Jan. 21, 1999, according to the plane’s registry papers on file with the FAA.

The certification was issued with a expiration listed as Apr. 30, 2019.

It took Tom Hastings nine years to build his custom plane, according to one aviation writer who wrote about the unique aircraft in 2005.

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On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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