A woman lost her husband, father and uncle when a small plane crashed in the Santa Ana mountains off Ortega Highway near Lake Elsinore over the weekend, killing all three men aboard, relatives said.
Relatives identified 32-year-old Jacob Griffiths of Irvine as one of the three men on the plane.
"Jacob loved life and he was truly blessed with his wife Amanda and their family," his uncle, Andrew McElroy told ABC7 in Los Angeles.
Relatives identified the other two men on the plane as the father and uncle of Amanda Woods Griffiths, Jacob's wife, according to Channel 7.
Firefighters were dispatched at 9:22 a.m. Sunday to an area near the Lookout Roadhouse restaurant in the 32100 block of Ortega Highway, in response to a small fire.
The Riverside County Fire Department confirmed the fatalities. CalFire reported that one of the plane's wings had clipped a tree, causing the single- engine aircraft to crash.
The fire was sparked by a Piper PA28 Cherokee airplane, which crashed into a cliff. Its tail number will not be released until relatives of the three people were notified, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.
The plane "circled and was really low and just barely cleared the power lines, and tried to climb," witness Alan Scott told Channel 7. It "was losing power and just dove into that mountain," he said.
Images from the scene show the wreckage was scattered across the hilly area near Lake Elsinore.
It's not certain if wind played a role in the crash, according to Channel 7.
Griffiths had recently gotten his pilot's license, relatives said, but it was not known if he or his his father-in-law was at the controls.
Griffiths ran a tree maintenance company in Stanton called Great Scott Tree Service, the Press Enterprise reported. He and his wife had been married five years.
There were no other reports of injuries or fatalities. The fire was contained to less than an acre, authorities said.
– City News Service.