A Santa Ana couple killed in the crash of their light plane in Concord were identified Tuesday as Jack and Jeannette Hoagland.
The Hoaglands were making a vacation flight to the Pacific Northwest on Monday when their Cessna 182 Skyhawk crashed shortly after takeoff. Concord police said the plane lost altitude over a crowded area near Interstate 680 in Contra Costa County and crashed into a vacant parking lot within a mile of the airport.
"Witnesses say the plane never actually gained altitude, and they could tell the pilot purposely steered away from occupied places," Fire Inspector Richard Carpenter said. Carpenter said witnesses were running to give aid when the aircraft exploded in flames. The plane took off at about 11:20 a.m. and was heading south when airport tower officials heard pilot Jack Hoagland, 71, say he was losing altitude. Authorities said he apparently tried to land on a street between the freeway and a building but hit the parking lot.
Hoagland, an aerospace engineer, had retired two weeks ago from Rockwell International Corp., after more than 15 years of service, a company official in Seal Beach said.
Family members said Hoagland had his commercial pilot's license for more than 38 years and that he and his wife, 69, had planned a three-week trip to visit friends and view several volcanoes, including Mount St. Helens.