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Visalia Plane Crash Near Highway 99 Kills Sacramento Area Family Members

Small Beechcraft Bonanza V35 plane

On December 4, 2021, a Beechcraft Bonanza V35 plane crashed immediately after taking off from Visalia Municipal Airport, killing all four people on board. The small plane was scheduled to land at Sacramento Executive Airport after a short flight. Tragically, the small plane never arrived.

Emergency crews responded to calls on the fatal crash just after 6:30 p.m. local time. They found the wreckage in a field to the west of the airport. Authorities say roughly four minutes elapsed between the plane’s departure and the first 911 call. According to media reports, the Beechcraft Bonanza went down in dense fog, however, authorities do not know if the weather played a role in causing the devastating crash.

Visalia Plane Crash Victims 

The plane crash near Visalia Municipal Airport killed 78-year-old David Chelini, his two daughters, 46-year-old Karen Chelini Baker and 48-year-old Donna Chelini, and his nephew, 58-year-old Steven Chelini. According to reports, the family had traveled from Sacramento to Visalia to attend a basketball game.

David Chelini was the pilot and registered owner of the plane that went down. According to close friends, the 78-year-old loved three things: airplanes, automobiles, and the accordion. Chelini was a master in all three of his passions. He spent most of his career working for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), but when he retired, he returned to Kline Music in Sacramento and started teaching accordion, a job he previously held in the 1960s.

Chelini was also well known in the Sacramento aviation community. He had been an exceptional pilot for many years, according to Augustine Joseph, CEO of Advanced International Aviation Academy.

People who wish to help out the Chelini family during this difficult time can donate to two GoFundMe campaigns organized by family friends:

Chelini Family Memorial Fund

Karen Celini Baker Memorial Fund

What Caused the Visalia Plane Crash? 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the cause of the plane crash near the Visalia Municipal Airport. It typically takes between a year and 18 months for government officials to conclude their investigation and issue a final report on the crash. The report will include the cause (or causes) of the Visalia crash and offer any relevant safety recommendations that could prevent crashes like this one from happening again.

Veteran aviation accident lawyer Ronald L. M. Goldman says the investigation will focus on the maintenance records for the downed plane, as well as the wreckage itself for any signs of mechanical failure. Following the crash, the downed planed has been moved to a secure location so investigators can better study the wreckage.

Aviation Accident Attorneys with Beechcraft Plane Crash Case History 

The California aviation attorneys from Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have decades of experience litigating plane crash cases, including claims involving the Beechcraft Bonanza model. Our firm understands what it takes to investigate and expose negligent wrongdoing that causes or factors into plane crashes.

Baum Hedlund aviation attorneys have handled over 100 Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft plane crash cases, securing justice and compensation for our clients. Whenever we take you case, our mission is to obtain justice and maximize compensation for you and your family. We are also ceaseless advocates for improving aviation safety to help deter future accidents from happening.

If you would like to talk with a plane crash lawyer about your case, please call (855) 948-5098 today or fill out our contact form. We offer free and confidential case evaluations.


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