4 Arizonans critical after San Diego plane crash

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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A father and three children who were badly hurt when their small plane crashed on a golf course remained hospitalized Tuesday while investigators probed the tragedy that killed the children's mother.

Gregory B. Crane, of Mesa, Ariz., and his children, Summer Crane, 11, Tia Crane, 10, and Austin Crane, 8, were in critical condition at two hospitals, medical center representatives said.

The hospitals did not release details of the victims' conditions, but Crane's father-in-law, Earl Orner, told KFMB-TV that Crane was in a coma.

Orner said the crash killed his daughter, Lori Crane.

"She was a sweetheart, defines her to everybody. She spent all her time with her kids. They were everything," Orner said.

The San Diego County medical examiner's office had not confirmed the woman's identity Tuesday.

Gregory Crane was piloting a rear-engine Velocity XL-RG5 when the group took off from Montgomery Field on Monday afternoon. Crane soon radioed that he had an open door and was going to try to return to the airport.

The plane crashed near the 11th hole of the Admiral Baker Golf Course in the city's Tierrasanta area. About a dozen golfers were within about 200 yards of the crash and about 100 people were on the course, said Tyler Monroe, assistant manager of the course's pro shop.

"We saw it start to get lower and lower as it flew over, like they were trying to find a place to land it," Monroe said. "It hit the power lines."

Robert Bartolomucci, a golf marshal at the course, said the plane soared about 10 feet over his head, made a turn to miss a pole, and a wing hit the ground, flipping the plane.

Bartolomucci and others ran to the wreckage. A course maintenance worker cut two people out of seat belts in the back of the plane, Bartolomucci said.

The crash was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

It was the second deadly plane crash in San Diego County in a week.

Cecil Judd, 83, of San Clemente, was killed when his twin-engine plane crashed and burned in a field behind an Oceanside elementary school on July 27, shortly after taking off from Oceanside Municipal Airport. Witnesses said the Beechcraft 95-855 appeared to have engine problems.

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