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San Diego plane crash victims were medical crew working for air ambulance

A flight nurse married to a recently retired fire department chief was among those killed in the Dec. 27 plane crash, according to the 0ceanside Firefighters Association.

Two flight nurses who were among four people who died when a small plane crashed into a San Diego suburb on Monday have been identified.

Tina Ward and Laurie Gentz were aboard the Learjet 35 aircraft when it took off from John Wayne Airport in Santa and made its way south to San Diego, friends of the family and former colleagues have said.

The plane was headed to the Gillespie Field Airport, but never arrived at its destination, crashing in a neighborhood near El Cajon at around 7p.m. local time (10p.m. ET), according to a record of the incident.

The plane appeared to have been carrying a medical crew who worked for an air ambulance company, Aeromedevac, which is based in El Cajon, according to early reports.

An address linked to the registration number of the crashed plane was found to belong to an office and hangar at Gillespie Field for High Performance Aircraft, NBC owned and operated broadcaster NBC 7 reported.

On Tuesday, workers at the El Cajon site told NBC 7 they worked with Aeromedevac and said the company, which appears to have disabled its website and Facebook account, is “still handling what happened” and “talking to all the families.”

A spokesperson for the company said they could not immediately provide a response to a request for comment.

NBC 7 found a social media post from 2019 that shows pictures of a plane that appears to match the one that crashed on Monday, with the same tail number, N880Z, visible.

In a statement published on Instagram, the Oceanside Firefighters Association confirmed that Tina Ward, a flight nurse who was married to the fire department's recently retired chief, had been among the four who died.

“It is with heavy hearts that the Oceanside Fire Department and their fire family would like to extend our deepest condolences to our recently retired Chief Ward, his family, and all family and friends of the Aeromedevac flight crew N88OZ," the department said, sharing a photo of Ward with her husband.

“Chief Ward’s wife Tina, was a flight nurse on board of the aircraft that crashed (on Monday) in El Cajon,” the department said in the Tuesday post. “We are shocked and saddened by this devastating news and are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” it said.

In a separate post published on Facebook, the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics confirmed that Gentz, who had served as a local union president, had also died in the crash.

"The IAEP extends sincere condolences for the devastating and sudden loss of Local 162 President Laurie Gentz, her fellow passengers and the Learjet flight crew," the association said.

"President Gentz will be greatly missed by all who knew her and all who benefit from her selfless contributions to organized labor in the Greater San Diego area," the AIEP said.

The organization shared a photo which appeared to show Gentz standing in the background, along with two others, with a woman who appears to be Ward standing in the foreground. The identities of the other two people in the photo was not immediately clear.

A LinkedIn page appearing to belong to Gentz identifies her as a flight nurse with Aeromedevac.