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Family launches GoFundMe for man killed in El Cajon plane crash

Posted at 12:57 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 16:02:53-05

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — The family of Julian Jorge Bugaj, a man who was killed along with three other people in a plane crash in El Cajon Monday night, has started a GoFundMe account to help with expenses, memorials, and stability.

Julian Bugaj, 67, Douglas James Grande, 45, Christina Elizabeth Ward, 52, and Laurie Rose Gentz, 68, were all identified as the victims who tragically died when their Learjet crashed on its way to Gillespie Field from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

The fatal crash happened just after 7 p.m. in the 1200 block of Pepper Dr. in El Cajon, which is 1.4 miles from the approach end of the runway.

Bugaj's family describes him as a "dedicated father, son, husband, grandfather, and a strong follower of the Lord.”

"Jorge has been an aviation enthusiast for decades. Starting from gliders, working his way into becoming a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) and as of the last few years, he’s been flying Learjets for Aeromedevac," family members said on the GoFundMe page Wednesday.

"Transporting everything from organs to patients all over the country for life-saving procedures. He is truly a hero in what he did and loved every second of it."

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Learjet was on an instrument approach to Runway 17 at Gillespie Field, when the pilot requested a change to a visual approach to Runway 27R.

NTSB says shortly after air traffic control cleared the plane to land, the aircraft crashed.

Near the crash site, a makeshift memorial continues to grow with flowers, pictures, and notes from loved ones of the victims.

Investigators from the NTSB have spent the last three days combing through the site of the crash.

While the cause of the crash is still under investigation surveillance video from houses nearby caught what looks like a bright light heading towards the neighborhood, seconds later a large flash that is believed to be the plane that crashed on Pepper Drive.

As of Thursday, utility crews on the ground are still working to repair the power lines that went down during the crash.