San Diego

Man Identified in Clairemont Plane Crash, Wife Survives

The New York couple was visiting San Diego to see friends and attend a conference

A married couple, Dawn and Robert Stelling were passengers on the plane that crashed in a Clairemont school park and burst into flames in the backyard of a nearby home on Saturday.

Dawn survived, Robert did not.

The couple lives in Southhampton, New York with their three children.

Gil Flanagan, an acquaintance of Robert Stelling for over 20 years, discussed the loss of his friend with NBC 7.

"Robert was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known," Flanagan said. "It's a terrible loss. This whole community will miss him and we stand behind him and his family."

Flanagan said Robert Stelling, 50, was the owner of a beach and tennis club.

He said Dawn Stelling owns an animal hospital. She and her husband were in San Diego attending an annual veterinary medicine conference before the crash.

They were also visiting a friend, the other victim killed in the crash. NBC 7 has not been able to confirm that person's identity.

Dawn Stelling is on her way home to Southampton to be with her family.

Flanagan said the couple was on the plane because Dawn "wanted to see San Diego from the sky."

The plane, a 1995 Beechcraft Bonanza, was a six-seat single-engine airplane. It was registered to Altitude Aviation Inc., out of Hermosa Beach, California.

Calls to the owners of Altitude Aviation have yet to be returned.

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