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Family, pilot killed in Harrisburg plane crash


April 11, 2017

Four people were killed Friday, April 7, when a plane crashed just north of Harrisburg.

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley said his office’s 9-1-1 Center received a report of the crash at 10:53 a.m. Friday.

Riley said the plane, a single-engine, six-seat 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, registered to Park City Aviation LLC from Park City, Utah was piloted by Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, from Acton, Calif.

The plane was based out of Van Nuys, Calif. and left Van Nuys Friday at approximately 7:22 a.m., en route to Eugene.

Aletky was hired by Park City Aviation for the flight and was a certificated pilot.

Investigators learned the plane was flying on instruments and was approaching the Eugene Airport.

Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, which is approximately two miles north of Harrisburg.

Riley said it was not known why the plane bypassed the airport.

He said passenger John A. Zitting, 42, hired Aletky to fly him, his wife and their son, to Eugene. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat. Seated behind the pilot was Zitting’s spouse, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their son, John Brendan Zitting, 17, was seated behind his father.

The Zitting family is from Thousand Oaks, Calif. The Eugene Register-Guard reported that they were en route to the University of Oregon for a visit to the campus.

All four occupants of the plane died in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived on scene Friday at 4:40 p.m. to assist with the investigation. Linn County

The wreckage was scheduled to be removed over the weekend.

Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting were conducted Saturday and the investigation is on-going as to the cause of the crash, Riley said.


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