YORBA LINDA, Calif. – The man that piloted a plane that broke apart in the sky and crashed in a Southern California neighborhood and killed four people on Sunday had fake police credentials on him, reported CBS Los Angeles.
Antonio Pastini, 75, was identified as a retired Chicago police officer, but the Chicago Police Department said it has no record of him working for the department. The credentials were found at the crash site in Yorba Linda. They included false retirement papers and a police badge with the same number as a badge that was reported lost in 1978, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Pastini was killed shortly after his twin-engine Cessna 414A broke up after takeoff from a nearby airport before falling to pieces and causing a fire in a home where four people died. The victims have not been publically identified. Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun confirmed the credentials found at the crash site were bogus.
Pastini’s daughter, Julia Ackley, said her father’s birth name was Jordan Isaacson, but did not indicate when or why he changed his name. She said he was a restaurant owner who often flew from his home in Nevada to visit family in California.
“I’d prefer not to comment, and let the investigators do their job,” Ackley told reporters. “My father is exactly who he said he was.”
Ackley told KTLA she watched news coverage of the incident on Sunday afternoon not realizing that the Cessna that appeared to have erupted midair over a residential neighborhood was her father’s.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have been collecting parts of the aircraft and information about Pastini, who is described as a commercial pilot. Preliminary information showed the plane took off around 1:35 p.m. and climbed to 7,800 feet before crashing. The cause of the crash has not been determined.
“From the video, it appears it was an in-flight break up,” NTSB head investigator Maya Smith said Monday. “There was a few witness statements out there that said the wings fell off first, and then the explosion followed because probably fuel onboard.”
Cell phone video captured the chaos that ensued, with flames and smoke billowing hundreds of feet in the air as one man using a garden hose to put out fire on part of the wing. The cabin of the plane landed in a ravine near an adjacent home.
“We will also do an investigation into the pilot’s history, medical records, his flight experience, as well as environment, weather and everything else that was surrounding the accident,” Smith said Monday.
Ackley described her father as a veteran pilot who volunteered for Angel Flight, which provides medical transportation for those in need. She said he leaves behind a wife, three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.