HARRISBURG — Friends say three family members were on a college scouting trip when they died in a small plane crash in Oregon, the Oregonian/Oregonlive reports.

The friends say that John A. Zitting, 42, of Thousand Oaks, California, his wife, Karen Blackmore Zitting , 37, and their son John Brendan Zitting, 17, were headed to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon. The newspaper reports that John Brendan Zitting was interested in attending the university.

The father was president of TruNorthe LLC, a construction management company in California.

The pilot, who also died in the crash, was Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, California. He worked at TruNorthe.

Sean Sullivan, marketing director for TruNorthe, says: "They were great people."

Sullivan adds: "His son was going off to college and that's why they were going to Oregon." He adds that the younger Zitting, a senior at Westlake (California) High School was also considering the University of Arizona and other schools. The son was the couple's only child.