BAKERSFIELD -- A Gilroy family, flying out of San Jose, died Saturday afternoon when their small private plane crashed into a Bakersfield almond orchard, killing both parents and three children.
Aviation and local authorities did not officially identify the victims, but a grieving family friend told this newspaper they were Jason and Olga Price, two daughters and a son. The Prices were flying from San Jose's Reid-Hillview Airport to Henderson Executive Airport in a Las Vegas suburb, where they were to visit friends in Las Vegas, according to a family friend.
"They were a wonderful family and dear close friends. They were loved by many," said friend Rich Whites,who was looking forward to a visit from the Price family upon their return from Nevada.
Radar shows that the plane was flying in excess of 250 miles per hour -- extremely fast, even for the high-performance Piper PA32 Turbo Lance aircraft -- as Price called in his first panicked Mayday to the Federal Aviation Administration.
An FAA website suggests that they turned immediately toward Bakersfield Airport upon sensing trouble. The plane missed FAA locational "vectors" while descending, suggesting they had gone far off their intended course.
The plane descended quickly from 15,000 feet and Price apparently lost control of the aircraft during its steep descent. A second Mayday, with an audible alarm, was called moments after the first.
Debris was scattered for one-quarter of a mile, according to Lt. Bill Smallwood of the Kern County Sheriffs Department.

On Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration was looking for what caused the crash.The National Weather Service reported rain and clouds in the area when the plane went off radar. Earlier in the day, aviation authorities warned of icing above 5,000 feet.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Jason Price was an engineer at Genesis Solutions in Gilroy. On her Facebook page -- where there was a full-color photograph of the five family members -- Olga Price indicated she once attended the Blackford High School in San Jose. Jason led teams and served as a machinery technician in the U.S. Coast Guard in the late 1990s as a machinery technician and also offered disaster and humanitarian relief as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol.
Bakersfield pilot Brad Pinnell called the weather "marginal, but flyable." Price had just filed Instrument Flight Rules because of poor visibility and precipitation.
"The two most likely culprits would be tail icing or a structural failure," Pinnell said.
"There were conditions for icing present earlier in the day at the level they were at, it could be suspected," said Pinnell, who canceled a flight to San Luis Obispo earlier in the day due to the weather.
The plane is a seven-seat high-performance 1978 fixed wing single engine, using a reciprocating engine.
The owner of the plane, according to FAA records, is RAD Aviation LLC of San Jose. A woman who answered a number listed for that address would only say that her husband used to be part owner of the plane but sold his share.
Joe Rodriguez contributed to this report. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 650-492-4098. Follow her at and M. Kriege