Thousand Oaks Family on College Visit when Small Plane Crashes

California Connection
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(Credit: Linn County Sheriff’s Office)

HARRISBURG, Ore. (AP) — Three family members were on a college scouting trip when they died in a small plane crash in Oregon, friends said.

John A. Zitting, 42, of Thousand Oaks, California, his wife, Karen Blackmore Zitting , 37, and their son John Brendan Zitting, 17, were headed to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon, the Oregonian/Oregonlive reported. John Brendan Zitting was interested in attending the university.

The father was president of TruNorthe LLC, a construction management company in California.

The pilot, who also died in the crash, was Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, California. He worked at TruNorthe.

“They were great people,” Sean Sullivan, marketing director for TruNorthe, told the Oregonian/Oregonlive.

“His son was going off to college and that’s why they were going to Oregon,” Sullivan added.

The younger Zitting, a senior at West Lake (California) High School was also considering the University of Arizona and other schools, Sullivan said. The son was the couple’s only child.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane flying low before turning and crashing into a grass field two miles north of Harrisburg, authorities said.

Federal officials are investigating but haven’t determined a cause of the crash.

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