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    ‘We lost 6 wonderful souls’: French Valley plane crash victims are mourned
    • July 10, 2023

    A moment of silence was held on Sunday during an early morning sermon at the Rolling Hills Covenant Church for the families of the six people killed in a fiery plane crash near French Valley Airport.

    Clyde LaGue, chairman of the Elder Board, broke the news to congregants and shared a message from Rod Lenders, a fellow church elder who lost his 25-year-old son Riese Lenders of Rancho Palos Verdes in the crash.

    “Yesterday, the Lord took our beloved son Riese in a plane crash. We are grieving deeply, but our hope is in the Lord,” LaGue shared on behalf of the Lenders family.

    Lenders received his commercial pilot certificate in April, records from the Federal Aviation Administration show. He was piloting the Cessna C550 business jet along with co-pilot Manuel Vargas-Regalado at the time of the crash, said Michael Morris, the plane’s owner. Lenders’ 31-year-old girlfriend, Huntington Beach resident Lindsey Gleiche, also died in the accident.

    “We lost six wonderful souls (who) unfortunately left behind 11 kids,” Morris said. They range in age, he added, from a newborn to 11 years old.

    Morris said he had received a call from Vargas-Regalado, manager and lead pilot of his flight company, who told him he wanted to take a few people to Las Vegas and asked if he could use one of his planes. The company owner agreed and said he didn’t ask questions because he knew the 32-year-old pilot, who had flown for him for two years, was responsible.

    The planes registered to Morris’ company, Prestige Worldwide Flights LLC, are based in Temecula.

    Vargas-Regalado and his 33-year-old wife, Abigail Tellez-Vargas from Murrieta, died in the crash, leaving behind seven children, Morris said. Tellez-Vargas was a real estate agent, according to her Instagram profile. Also killed were Temecula residents Alma Razick, 51, and car dealership owner Ibrahem Razick, 46, who had four children.

    Details on the cause and circumstances of the crash are being investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

    The crash was reported around 4:15 a.m. on Saturday. The plane, engulfed in flames, landed in a field about 500 feet short of the French Valley Airport runway, Eliott Simpson, an aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said.

    FlightAware, a third-party flight tracking site, showed a plane that took off from the Las Vegas airport around 3:15 a.m. and bypassed the runway at the French Valley Airport heading southbound. The Cessna then fell short of the runway after attempting to circle back around for a second approach.

    Weather data from Ogimet, a website that provides weather conditions at airports in 20-minute intervals, showed mist and fog at French Valley Airport, with clouds roughly 300 feet above the surface and about a half-mile visibility in the time period of the crash.

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    ​ Orange County Register