Clairemont plane crash victims were reportedly attending veterinary conference

Posted at 5:11 PM, Dec 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 20:35:26-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Two people who died when a small plane crashed into a Clairemont home last week have been identified.

Michael Zareski, 46, and 50-year-old Robert Stelling, of Southampton, N.Y., were killed when the single-engine Beech B36 Bonanza aircraft they were flying in crashed into a home on Chandler Drive near Interstate 805 and Balboa Avenue Saturday, the San Diego Medical Examiner (ME) confirmed.

Two others, the plane's pilot and a third passenger, survived the crash. No one was inside the home at the time of the crash, but a family dog was killed.

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The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but the pilot reportedly tried to land the plane in the schoolyard of Lafayette Elementary School but was unable to fully stop, the ME's report stated.

The victims were trapped inside the wreckage as the plane erupted into flames upon impact. Both Zareski and Stelling died of thermal injuries and inhalation of products of combustion, according to the ME.

The crash occurred a little more than three miles away from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport bordering SR-163.

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Zareski was a Torrance-area veterinarian, according to Daily Breeze. The publication reported Zareski worked at Western Veterinary Group.

A post signed by Shanna Zareski on the clinic's Facebook page said Zareski was returning home from a veterinary conference when the plane went down:

"Our WVG staff and families know that Mike touched a tremendous number of people with his overwhelming compassion, generosity and kindness. His legacy will live on in our four beautiful children and in Western Veterinary Group. 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."

Stelling was on the plane with his wife, Dawn, reported. Dawn was reportedly the third passenger who survived, according to the website.

Stelling, who is the owner of the Southampton Peconic Beach and Tennis Club, was also in town for the same veterinary conference as Zareski, the website said.

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