SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Late Thursday the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office identified the man killed in a plane crash that happened just outside the Sonoma Skypark.
RELATED: Man killed in Sonoma plane crash identified, 2 hospitalized
"We heard the plane take off. It sputtered," said witness Robert Castillo. "Didn't sound right."
Castillo was having lunch at a friend's house when he witnessed the terrible crash-- a single-engine plane plummeting to the ground just seconds after taking off from the Sonoma Skypark Airport.
"There was a heavy fuel smell. I was concerned a spark would go off," Castillo told ABC7 News.
Worried the plane would explode, Castillo and some friends rushed to help until first responders arrived. They pulled a mother, and two young children from the wreckage-- a girl, who was unconscious, and a boy.
But their father, who was piloting the plane, did not survive.
Bill Goldman, 38, from San Francisco was an assistant professor at USF.
He was flying a Cirrus SR22, a high-tech aircraft with an emergency parachute.
When asked what he heard, witness Scott Peterson said, "A big bang."
Peterson works near the airport. He says the plane didn't have enough altitude for the parachute to help. "One of our guys said when the parachute came down, it pointed the nose straight down."
Three family members are in the hospital.
An airport manager said Goldman told him the family was flying to San Jose but kept their plane in San Carlos.
The NTSB will join the FAA in its investigation of the crash.
Witnesses describe helping family injured in Sonoma County plane crash