Pilot Killed in Van Nuys Plane Crash Identified

The small plane crashed shortly after takeoff Friday, killing the pilot and a passenger.

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Officials on Sunday released the name of the 62-year-old pilot killed in a single-engine plane crash just west of the Van Nuys Airport, a crash that also killed his passenger.

The pilot was identified as Jim De Varennes of Pacific Palisades, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The name of his passenger, a female, will be released pending notification of next of kin, according to the coroner's office.

The crash occurred at 3:04 p.m. Friday in a parking lot in the 6900 block of North Hayvenhurst Avenue, according to Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

De Varennes and the passenger were pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness said the plane made a steep climb, stalled, then nose-dived into the ground.

Preliminary information indicated that the single-engine Navion B plane had taken off from Van Nuys Airport and was heading for Santa Ynez Airport in Santa Barbara County, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's Ian Gregor, who says the plane caught fire after crashing. 

The LAFD responded to the scene and put out flames from the crash. No injuries or building damage were reported on the ground, but multiple reports said three vehicles suffered damage.


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“The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” Gregor said. “The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will determine the probable cause of the accident.”

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