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Five Dead in Orange County Cessna 414 Plane Crash


On August 5, 2018, a twin-engine Cessna 414 crashed in a parking lot in Santa Ana, killing all five people aboard the aircraft. No one on the ground was injured.

The fatal Orange County plane crash occurred at approximately 12:30 p.m. on the 3800 block of Bristol Street near the South Coast Plaza mall. According to a representative from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), pilot Scott Shepherd declared an emergency just before the small plane went down roughly a mile away from John Wayne Airport, the plane’s destination.

According to FAA records, the Cessna 414 was owned by Category III Aviation Corp., a San Francisco real estate consulting firm.

Victims of Fatal Orange County Plane Crash Identified

The Orange County coroner’s office released the names of the victims:

  • Nasim Ghanadan, 29, of Alamo
  • Navid Hakimi, 32, of Los Angeles
  • Lara Shepherd, 42, of Diablo
  • Scott Shepherd, 53, of Diablo
  • Floria Hakimi, 62, of Danville

Lara Shepherd, Floria Hakimi, and Nasim Ghanadan were all Bay Area realtors with Pacific Union International traveling with family members. Lara’s husband, Scott, was also a real estate developer in the Bay Area. He was piloting the plane at the time of the Cessna crash. Navid Hakimi was Floria Hakimi’s son.

Aerial View of Cessna 414 Plane Crash

How Did the Cessna Plane Crash in Santa Ana Happen?

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the cause of the plane crash near South Coast Plaza. Albert Nixon of the NTSB told the media that Cessna pilot Scott Shepherd declared an emergency prior to the crash but did not specify what the problem was.

Witnesses to the crash said the plane entered into a steep nosedive before it struck four vehicles in a parking lot. The Cessna 414 did not catch fire, but the aircraft was barely recognizable in the wake of the crash, crumpled into several pieces.

“Usually, no fire after a crash like this suggests there was no fuel in the tank,” says aviation attorney Timothy A. Loranger. “While that is not absolute, it certainly is something the FAA and NTSB will be looking at in their investigation. If there was no fuel in the tank, the question that will need to be answered is, why?”

OC Cessna Plane Crash Updates

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report in Plane Crash | Aug. 30, 2018

The NTSB released its preliminary report on the Cessna 414. Although the report details the plane’s last moments, it does not assign blame for the crash. According to the report, the plane crashed into an empty car at a shopping center parking lot just before 12:30 p.m. on August 5. Five people died in the crash.

The pilot, Scott Shepherd, was told to circle the South Coast Plaza area until air traffic control (ATC) could determine a runway for him to land on. On arrival at the South Coast Plaza area, ATC assigned Shepherd a runway and told him to take a 270-degree turn and climb higher. Within a minute, however, the plane descended hundreds of feet.

During the plane’s descent, Shepherd transmitted “emergency” three times but did not state what the emergency was. Before the plane could recover from the descent, it crashed into the shopping mall parking lot.

Witnesses Describe Seeing Plane Crash | Aug. 7, 2018

Plane crash witnesses reported seeing the Cessna crash into a shopping center parking lot. A shopping center employee said they saw the plane turning and heard it making a weird noise, then saw the aircraft nose dive. Most witnesses were surprised that there was no explosion following the crash. The Orange County Fire Authority said the fuel used in a Cessna is combustible, making the lack of either a fire or explosion surprising.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. A preliminary report will be released shortly, with a full report released in one to two years.

Los Angeles Aviation Attorneys

If you lost a loved one in the plane crash in Santa Ana, the Southern California law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has experience dealing with investigating and litigating small plane crashes. Our team of aviation attorneys includes experienced Board Certified Civil Trial lawyers who know what it takes to successfully resolve personal injury and wrongful death claims against plane companies, aircraft manufacturers, aircraft maintenance shops, air-traffic controllers, or any other negligent party.

Over the last 40 years, we have represented victims from over 700 aviation accidents in the United States and abroad. We understand and are supportive of our clients’ personal and emotional needs in the aftermath of a tragedy, and we are relentless in our legal pursuit of truth, justice, and accountability.

To speak with a lawyer about your claim, please contact us or call (855) 948-5098 for a free case evaluation.


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