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Man who died in one of two recent La Verne plane crashes identified as Cessna's owner

Man who died in one of two recent La Verne plane crashes identified as Cessna's owner
A plane crashed near Brackett Field Airport in La Verne on Monday, the second crash in the same area in two days. A man who died in a Sunday plane crash has been identified. (KTLA)

Officials have identified a man who died in a plane crash that left another occupant seriously injured Sunday.

Frank Eldridge Owens, 69, is the first person identified after two fatal plane crashes in La Verne in two days, said Sarah Ardalani, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. Owens, whom Federal Aviation Administration records list as the owner of the Cessna 177RG that went down Sunday, reported engine trouble less than a minute before the plane crashed.

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The aircraft slammed into a nursery near a runway at Brackett Field Airport about 5:50 p.m. A woman who was in the plane with Owens was seriously injured but is expected to survive, officials said.

The FAA told KTLA-TV Channel 5 the pilot was practicing approaches before the crash.

The victim of the second crash at Brackett Field, which was reported at noon Monday, has not been identified. The pilot was the only occupant in the plane, a Beech V35 registered to the Curtis Hedlund Corp. in Irwindale, according to FAA records.

Eric Weiss, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, would not comment on how rare it is for two plane crashes to occur at the same location in such a short span of time.

“Each accident is different,” he said. “Our job is to find out what happened. That’s what we’re going to do in each of these cases, and if there’s any similarities in cause, we would look at that. But right now, we’re treating them as two separate accidents.”

Weiss said he did not know whether Owens was the one piloting the plane, and that a preliminary investigation report would be published in about a week.

12:55 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the National Transportation Safety Board.

This article was originally published at 12:10 p.m.

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