Flight nurse identified as one of the victims killed in El Cajon jet crash

Local

EL CAJON, Calif. – One of the four victims in Monday’s deadly plane crash in unincorporated El Cajon has been identified as the wife of a recently retired local fire official, according to the union representing Oceanside firefighters.

The victim, Tina Ward, was working as a flight nurse aboard the Learjet 35A aircraft that crashed about 7:15 p.m. Monday near the 1200 block of Pepper Drive and North Mollison Avenue in the Bostonia neighborhood, an Instagram post by the Oceanside Firefighters Association 3736 shows.

Her identity was confirmed late Tuesday by a battalion chief in the Oceanside Fire Department.

“We are shocked and saddened by this devastating news and are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the union said in its post.

She was married to retired Oceanside Fire Deputy Chief Joe Ward and is the first person from the crash to be publicly identified. The San Diego County Medical Examiner has not named her or the other three victims because the office was “working on (identifying) the deceased” before notifying families, the office’s website shows.

It is not immediately clear when the other victims of the crash will be identified by local authorities.

Investigators say there were no survivors from the plane that took off Monday evening from John Wayne Airport in Orange County with Gillespie Field being its intended destination. Nobody on the ground was hurt in the crash, though one home was damaged and debris initially knocked out power to more than 2,500 San Diego Gas & Electric customers.

The plane crashed approximately 1.4 miles from the approach end of the runway at Gillespie, the National Transportation Safety Board said in an initial report released Tuesday.

Crews from the NTSB expect to be in the El Cajon area for three days to document the site with one area of focus being to recover the cockpit voice recorder from the aircraft. If there is usable audio with it, officials will create a transcript of the recording to learn more about the plane’s final moments.

Those who witnessed the crash or have relevant information to the investigation were asked Tuesday to contact investigators by email at witness@ntsb.gov.

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