PALMDALE – A small experimental plane crashed into a shed near Santa Paula Saturday afternoon, killing the two Antelope Valley residents on board, according to media reports.
The single-engine, home-built Vans RV6A crashed around 2:10 p.m. Saturday, March 31, in the vicinity of South Mountain Road and 12th Street. The two men on board died at the scene. No one else was injured.
One of the two victims was identified as 60-year-old Ted Dopler of Palmdale. NBC4 interviewed his wife, Lori Dopler, who said she was supposed to be on the flight but stayed home at the last minute to take care of her mother. The plane left from a private airfield in Rosamond, less than 30 minutes from the couple’s Antelope Valley home.
They were on their way to the Santa Paula airport, with Ted Dopler flying and a male passenger on board who hasn’t been identified, but crashed about 1 1/2 miles away, according to NBC4. [View the NBC4 report here.]
The plan struck an unoccupied shed and caught fire after crashing, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor. The fire was quickly put out, officials said.
The plane’s federal registration number indicated that it was registered out of Palmdale, according to the Ventura County Star.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
UPDATE: The male passenger on board has been identified as Jody Smith, 58, of Lancaster, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office. Dopler and Smith suffered multiple blunt force injuries, and their deaths were ruled accidental. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene in the 17000 block of South Mountain Road. Investigators haven’t determined if the plane was headed for Santa Paula Airport or another location, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Eric Buschow.