ɫ̳

Skip to content
Orange County Register associate Nathan Percy.

Additional Information: Mugs.1113 Photo by Nick Koon /Staff Photographer.
UPDATED:

Two people were killed when a vintage airplane crashed near Chino Airport shortly after takeoff during an air museum event on Saturday, June 15, authorities said.

The twin-engine Lockheed 12A crashed around 12:35 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Mina Kaji said.

The plane caught fire after it crashed just west of the airport, Chino Valley Fire District Battalion Chief Bryan Turner said. Firefighters got the fire under control in about 10 minutes before finding the two people inside.

Turner described the plane as older and historical.

The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office identified the victims Sunday as Frank J. Wright, 67, of Riverside, and Michael P. Gilles, 71, of Aliso Viejo. Both men were licensed to fly multi-engine airplanes, according to FAA records. Gilles was also licensed to pilot gliders and hot air balloons.

The airplane belonged to the Yanks Air Museum, according to a Facebook post from that organization.

“At this time we are working with local authorities and the FAA. Yanks Air Museum will be closed until further notice as our family deals with this tragedy, and we appreciate your patience and respect for our privacy as we navigate through this difficult time,” the post said.

The plane crashed during the Yanks Air Pops & Props event, although it was not immediately clear whether that plane was part of the show.

The museum has hundreds of restored airplanes, including P-40 Warhawk, F-86 Sabre, F-16B Fighting Falcon and F-15A Eagle, .

Footage from OnSceneTV showed the silver plane, with the engine detached from the fuselage, sitting in a grassy field near one of the airport’s runways.

quoted an unnamed witness saying the two men were taking part in a Father’s Day weekend event at the Yanks Air Museum. He was filming video when the crash occurred.

“There was a shrub or a bush in front of me, a tall one, maybe about 10 to 12 feet high, and I had to move around it,” the witness told ABC. “But when I got around it, the plane started listing to the left … very sharp, and started going down.”

He said the plane took a nose dive, with the left wing hitting the ground first, leading to an immediate explosion.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the crash site Sunday.

Originally Published:

More in Crime and Public Safety