Authorities Wednesday released the names of two men killed last weekend in a fiery plane crash in Clairemont.
Robert Stelling, 50, and Michael Zareski, 46, were passengers in a single-engine, six-seat aircraft that crash-landed in a field next to Lafayette Elementary School, smashed into an unoccupied home and burst into flames about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the San Diego County Medical
Stelling, a resident of Southampton, New York, and Zareski, 46, of Torrance died in the wreckage of the Beech B36 Bonanza, which had begun having engine trouble shortly after takeoff from nearby Montgomery Field.
Stelling’s wife, Dawn, and the pilot of the aircraft, whose name has not been released, survived the accident. Medics took them to a hospital for treatment of injuries of undisclosed severity.
The Stellings, parents to three children, were visiting San Diego for a veterinarian conference, according to the Torrance Daily Breeze. Dawn Stelling is a veterinarian and the owner of Olde Towne Animal Hospital in Southampton, according to the clinic’s website.
Zareski, father to four children, also was a veterinarian, a well-known animal-care physician fondly known as “Dr. Mike” in his Los Angeles- area hometown where he headed Western Veterinary Group in Torrance.
“Mike poured his heart, soul, and sweat into making WVG a family practice, not only in the sense of including myself and our kids but also as a place where he cared for and considered each one of his patients and clients family as well,” Zareski’s wife Shanna posted on the clinic’s website.
“I intend to carry on and grow WVG as I know Mike would want, and I want to assure you that our veterinarians and support staff will continue to offer the exceptional level of compassion and care that Mike showed everyone,” she continued.
Nobody was inside the Chandler Drive home when the plane slammed into it, though Max Sansa, who was renting it, told news crews he had left for work 10 minutes earlier and that his Maltese poodle, Biggie, was killed. Sansa’s wife and 2-year-old daughter were out of town at the time.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident.
–City News Service, staff
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