Extended family rallies behind 5 kids who lost parents in Riverside County plane crash

Eric Resendiz Image
Friday, July 14, 2023
Extended family rallies behind 5 kids who lost parent in plane crash
The brother of the father of five who died in a plane crash last week said the family was very close and that the kids may now move to Texas to live with their aunt.

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- Manny and Abigail Vargas were flying home from a business trip in Las Vegas Saturday morning when their plane went down and burst into flames, leaving their five kids without parents.

All six people on board the flight died just 500 feet from the intended runway at the French Valley airport in Murrieta. No official cause of the crash has been released, but it appears fog was a factor.

Now, the Vargas' kids, who range in age from 14 to one years old, will be raised by their aunt, who lives in Texas and has a family of her own.

Manny Vargas' brother spoke with Eyewitness News about the efforts underway to support the devastated children.

"They were a very close family. My brother and sister-in-law did everything with what they had for the kids. I would like to remember Abigail and Manny like a lovely couple," said Caleb Olvera.

Manny and Abigail Vargas had met in school and were happily married for 20 years. They were both in their early 30s.

"My brother Manny, he built a lovely family. He built a business for his family. He worked so hard. He was such an intelligent man," said Olvera.

Olvera and the rest of the extended family has provided the Vargas' five children with mental health resources since they broke the news of their parents' deaths. A GoFundMe page is raising money for their care as well.

The kids currently live in Temecula, but they may end up moving closer to family in Texas.

"Alejandra, Abby's sister, is going to take care of the kids. But she needs help because she has her own family. To keep five more kids, it's going to be hard for her," Olvera said.

The most recent plane incident marked the second time this month a plane crashed near the French Valley Airport. One person died and three were injured in a plane crash on the 4th of July.

Both incidents are under investigation.