Crash of a Cessna 414 Chancellor in Santa Ana: 5 killed

Date & Time: Aug 5, 2018 at 1229 LT
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Concord – Santa Ana
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The aircraft was destroyed when it impacted the ground in a shopping mall parking lot in Santa Ana, California. The private pilot and four passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Category III Aviation Corporation under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight. The flight departed Buchanan Field Airport (CCA), Concord, California, about 1022 and was destined for John Wayne-Orange County Airport (SNA), Santa Ana, California. A review of the SNA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) audio tape revealed that the pilot established contact with the control tower controller when he was west of the airport descending to 1,700 ft mean sea level (msl). The pilot was told to expect right traffic to runway 20R. The controller then queried the pilot to determine if he could accept runway 20L, and the pilot responded that he was unable to land on runway 20L. The controller then instructed the pilot to hold over the South Coast Plaza, a local holding point for aircraft operating under visual flight rules (VFR), and to conduct left 360° turns for sequencing. When the accident airplane arrived at the holding point, the pilot responded that he could accept runway 20L for landing. The pilot was then instructed to continue his turn to accomplish a left 270° turn and to cross mid-field at or above 1,300 ft msl, for left traffic to runway 20L. The pilot acknowledged that instruction. The controller then instructed the pilot to climb to 1,300 ft msl. A review of the preliminary radar data showed that at 1228, the airplane was about 1-mile northwest of SNA, traveling eastbound at an altitude of about 1,000 ft msl. The airplane began a left turn and the last radar return was recorded at 1229. At this time, the airplane was descending through an altitude of about 494 ft msl. Multiple witnesses near the accident site observed the airplane enter the left bank turn and shortly thereafter, they observed the bank angle increase and the airplane descend towards the ground at a steep angle. During the descent, the pilot transmitted "emergency" three times. The airplane did not recover from the descent and collided with several vehicles in a shopping mall parking lot before coming to rest upright about 35 ft from the entrance of a major store.Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators revealed that that all major components of the airplane were located throughout the 150 ft long debris path.