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Investigation Underway Into Plane Crash Which Killed Ventura County Family

Facebook photo of Brendan Zitting. The Westlake High School student died along with his parents, and the pilot of a light plane which crashed Friday in Oregon

Federal investigators are trying to determine what led to an Oregon plane crash which killed four people, including a Ventura County family and the plane’s pilot.

The aircraft was carrying John Zitting, his wife Karen, and their son Brendan when it crashed in a field northwest of Eugene, Oregon on Friday. The family was going to visit the University of Oregon, which the 17 year old Westlake High senior was considering attending. Also killed in the crash was the plane’s pilot, Mark Aletky of Acton.

Investigators say the pilot was apparently using instruments to fly the plane because of visibility issues. Witnesses say they saw the plane flying north at a low altitude when it suddenly turned, and crashed into a field.

John Zitting was President of Simi Valley based TruNorthe, a construction management company. Because he traveled frequently for work, the company bought the plane, and hired Aletky as its pilot.

Brendan’s car, which was parked at Westlake High, has become an impromptu memorial with people placing flowers, and writing messages on the vehicle to honor the popular teen.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.