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Nurse, wife of retired fire chief identified as victim in El Cajon area plane crash

The Oceanside Firefighters Association identified one of two nurses on board as Tina Ward - the wife of a retired local fire chief.

EL CAJON, Calif. — One of four people killed Monday in a small plane crash in East County San Diego was identified as a nurse and the wife of a recently retired local fire chief in an Instagram post Tuesday by The Oceanside Firefighters Association. The post identified Tina Ward as one of the people on board when the aircraft went down. The post offered condolences to Tina's husband - recently retired Oceanside Fire Chief Joe Ward - and featured a photo of the couple.

Joe Ward set up a GoFundMe for the "Tina Ward Memorial Scholarship Fund" where people are asked in lieu of flowers or funeral donations to donate to the fund in her memory and that all funds donated will go directly toward scholarships for underrepresented students working on furthering their careers in EMS.

"It is with heavy hearts that the Oceanside Fire Department and their fire family would like to extend our deepest condolences to our recently retired Chief Ward, his family, and all family and friends of the Aeromedevac flight crew N880Z," the post read in part.

Sources had earlier told News 8 two pilots and two nurses were on board returning from a flight taking a medical patient to Orange County.

The three other victims of the crash had not been officially identified by any agency as of Tuesday night.

The investigation into the crash which took off from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana is ongoing.

The crash was reported at about 7:15 p.m. Monday near the 1200 block of Pepper Drive and North Mollison Avenue in the unincorporated Bostonia neighborhood.

The area is a few miles east of Gillespie Field airport, where the plane was scheduled to land.

Deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Santee and Lakeside stations immediately responded to the scene along with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, the California Highway Patrol and the El Cajon Police Department.

One home was damaged, but no injuries were reported on the ground, officials said.

There was no immediate word on what led to the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be handling the investigation. According to the NTSB, the plane was a Learjet 35A business jet, which seats eight people.

The FAA released the following statement Tuesday morning:

"A Learjet 35 business jet crashed in a residential San Diego neighborhood around 7:15 p.m. local time Monday. Four people were aboard. The flight departed John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., and was headed to Gillespie Field Airport in San Diego. The FAA and NTSB will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide all updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents."

Pepper Drive was expected to remain closed between Topper Lane and North Second Street through Wednesday, officials said.

The crash did take out several power lines. A handful of customers still didn't have electricity as of Tuesday night, but SDG&E said it should be restored Wednesday. 

The American Red Cross provided assistance to residents who remain affected by the power outage, according to sheriff's officials.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has photos or videos from the scene was asked to email witness@ntsb.gov.

The crash comes less than three months after a small aircraft crashed into homes in another East County San Diego neighborhood killing two people and destroying two homes. The Oct. 11 plane crash in Santee claimed the lives of the pilot Dr. Sugata Das and a UPS driver who was struck on the ground Steve Krueger.

WATCH RELATED: No survivors after plane crashes in East County San Diego neighborhood



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