SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Five people were killed when a small plane they were in crashed Sunday afternoon in a Santa Ana parking lot near South Coast Plaza.
Family members identified one of the victims killed as Nasim Ghanadan, who is a realtor at Pacific Union in the East Bay and was on the flight for work. They said she was 29 years old.
A spokesperson for Pacific Union says that all of the passengers on the flight worked for the company.
Ghanadan's biography on the company's website says, "Nasim's clients appreciate her honesty, tenacious work ethic, strong negotiation skills and cheerful spirit."
The crash occurred at 12:28 p.m. in the 3800 block of Bristol Street, a spokesperson for the Santa Ana Police Department said, adding that no one on the ground was injured.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the twin-engine Cessna 414 aircraft declared an emergency before slamming into the parking lot.
The plane struck at least one unoccupied vehicle, whose owner was elsewhere shopping at the time.
"Nobody on the ground was injured, so I don't know anything about what this pilot did or what he was thinking, but it could have been much more tragic. This is a Sunday afternoon, and we have people shopping, so the fact that there are no injuries on the ground is a miracle in itself," said Capt. Tony Bommarito, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.
The crash site is just north of the popular South Coast Plaza shopping mall and a few blocks northwest of John Wayne Airport, which was the pilot's destination.
The plane is registered to the San Francisco-based real estate company Category III and had left Concord, according to an FAA database.
The identities of the other victims have not yet been released.
Bommarito said responding firefighters did not encounter any flames in the wreckage.
Crews were working to clean up spilled fuel at the location. Meanwhile, Bristol was closed between Sunflower Avenue and Callen's Common.
The cause of the incident will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
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