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Pilot in Fatal Crash Had Missing Police Badge

No record of Antonio Pastini as Chicago police officer
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2019 7:41 AM CST
Antonio Pastini, left, and his daughter, Julia Ackley, pose at Lake Tahoe near Carson City, Nev., on Dec. 24, 2018.   (Julia Ackley via AP)

(Newser) – Investigators of the plane crash that killed five in Southern California on Sunday may have inadvertently run across a 40-year-old theft. Though the deceased pilot of the 1981 twin-engine Cessna 414A was at first described as a retired Chicago police officer, authorities in that city say a metal police star badge Antonio Pastini was carrying wasn't his. NBC News reports it was stolen in 1978, while the AP describes it as lost. On top of that, a police ID in Pastini's name has "never been a design ever issued by the Chicago Police Department" and appears to be "fictitiously created," a police rep tells NBC. Born Jordan Isaacson, 75-year-old Pastini was on a solo trip home to Nevada after visiting his daughter and granddaughter. "We ended up having lunch and ice cream" and "he promised that he would call," Julia Ackley tells KTLA. "He never called."

The commercial pilot's plane crashed into a home in Yorba Linda shortly after takeoff from Fullerton Municipal Airport. Four people—a husband, wife, daughter, and son-in-law—died in a resulting fire, while three others were injured, per CNN. Witnesses said the plane broke apart during a fast descent. CNN reports about 15 to 16 homes were hit with debris across four blocks. Collecting all of that evidence poses a big challenge for National Transportation Safety Board investigators, who are also looking into the plane's maintenance records and Pastini's pilot history. Photos of the wreckage, apparently showing wings detached from the cabin, suggest the loss of horizontal stabilizers or aerodynamic balance, a veteran crash investigator tells the AP, though he cautions against making assumptions at this stage. (More on the crash here.)

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