Victims Killed in Small Plane Crash in Corona Identified

NTSB investigators were still looking into the cause of the crash.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Four people killed when a small plane floundered and then crashed during takeoff at Corona Municipal Airport were being identified by family members and authorities in the wake of the fiery wreck Thursday.

Teresa Rodriguez, 63, and her husband Danny Rodriguez, 70, were identified by their son Roger Black as having perished in the 836 Bonanza craft crash Wednesday.

Danny Rodriguez was a pilot and retired LAPD officer who worked at Southwest, 77th and Harbor division.

Paula Mitchell, 61, and Jospeh Zingali, 85, who owned the plane, were also aboard.

The small craft caught fire after the pilot appeared to lose control, crashed into a fence, and went down an embankment.

NTSB investigators were still looking into the cause of the crash.

Witnesses said they tried in vain to help, but it all happened so fast.


Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.

From Sin City to the City of Angels, building starts on high-speed rail line

Riverside County launches program for outdoor recreation access

The son of two of the people killed in the crash, both from Whittier, said they loved to fly. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

“We brought fire extinguishers, but it almost fully engulfed immediately," said witness Dorothe Voll, who is also a pilot.

First responders like the Corona Police Department and fire crews also arrived at the scene quickly, but by that point a quarter acre of brush was already on fire.

Witnesses say the plane was struggling to take off from the runway before striking a fence and exploding into flames. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

Voll said from what she saw, the plan was moving too fast to stop and too slow to fly.

"I got about 10 feet but the flames were too hot to get anyone," witness and pilot Matthew Keenan said. "I was bawling in my car. I couldn't handle it. It was pretty tough to see."

Corona Fire officials say the plane had 80 gallons of fuel on board.

Paula Mitchell and Teresa Rodriguez.

The Rodriguez's lived in Whittier, their son said. Danny was Black's stepfather, and he said they had gone flying with two friends that day.

Danny Rodriguez's brother said Teresa and her friend, Paula, who was also aboard, had worked for the post office for many years before retiring.

Six incidents have resulted in 10 fatalities from 1998-2017 at the Corona Municipal airport, not including Wednesday's fatal wreck, according to NTSB data.

Contact Us