Sunday, August 26, 2012

Piper PA-32-301T Turbo Saratoga, N588ET: Accident occurred August 25, 2012 in South Lake Tahoe, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA369 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2012 in South Lake Tahoe, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/22/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-301T, registration: N588ET
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While taxiing to the ramp, the airplane’s engine shut down, and it took the pilots numerous attempts to restart it. After parking, the pilots reported to the attendants that the airplane’s fuel/air mixture was difficult to establish at such a high-density altitude and that, if the engine was operated too lean, its temperature exceeded normal operation parameters. Later that day, the pilots departed in dark night conditions. During the takeoff roll, most of the runway length was used before the airplane began to climb. Several witnesses reported that the  airplane appeared to be having engine problems and, after being airborne for about 3 seconds, it descended into terrain. Additionally, some witnesses reported that the engine sounded as if it was not producing full power and that the ascent seemed labored. The airplane impacted trees located on flat terrain about 2,400 feet from the end of the runway. The main wreckage was consumed by postimpact fire. Examination of the accident site revealed that the right wing impacted a tree in a wings-level attitude. The postaccident examinations revealed no evidence of mechanical anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. Although it could not be confirmed, it is likely that the left-seat pilot was the flying pilot and that the right-seat pilot, who owned the airplane and had been consuming alcohol before the flight, was not the pilot-in-command. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because examinations revealed no evidence of mechanical anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation and the pilots’ decision to continue the departure in dark night conditions with the engine not producing full power.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 25, 2012, about 2145 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-32-301T Saratoga, N588ET, impacted trees shortly after departing from Lake Tahoe Airport, South Lake Tahoe, California. The right-seated pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The five occupants, which included the right and left-seated private pilots, were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. The personal cross-country flight was originating from Lake Tahoe Airport, with a planned destination of Fresno, California. Nighttime visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The occupants had departed Fresno earlier that day and landed at Lake Tahoe Airport. After touchdown, a pilot was in communication with two fixed base operator (FBO) attendants and received directions of where to taxi the airplane. While taxiing to the ramp, the airplane's engine shutdown and it took numerous attempts for the pilots to restart it. Upon parking, the pilots reported to the attendants that the airplane's fuel/air mixture was difficult to establish at such a high density altitude and that if one operates the engine too lean its temperature will exceed normal operation parameters. The pilots indicated that this was their first time of going to the Tahoe airport and he was under the impression that for the accident flight the left-seated pilot was the flying-pilot.

Following dinner, the occupants returned to the airport with the intention of flying back to Fresno, where the airplane was based. One of pilots made a radio transmission on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (UNICOM) stating that they were departing runway 36 and making a "straight out over the lake departure and then a crosswind departure to the left." This was the last radio call transmitted.

A review of the recorded security camera footage at the airport revealed that the airplane could be seen in the nighttime conditions by a blinking light. The airplane appeared to depart from runway 36 and near the end of the runway began an ascent. The light appeared to level off and then a flash of light occurs in the area of the accident site.

Numerous witnesses reported hearing the airplane depart and noticed that the engine noise sounded labored, as if it was not producing full power. A Civil Air Patrol Squadron Building was located at the airport where several cadets heard the departure and accident. A few cadets heard three "chirps," that sounded if the tires were touching back on the runway surface after becoming airborne. One cadet stated that one of the pilots showed signs of intoxication and noted that they forgot to turn the beacon on before startup and after takeoff. He observed the airplane become airborne far down the runway and appearing to be having engine problems. The airplane was only in the air about three seconds before descending and crashing into terrain.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Right-seated Pilot

A review of the airmen records maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) disclosed that the right-seated pilot, age 43, was issued a private pilot certificate with a rating for single-engine land airplanes in October 2007. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued without limitation on June 20, 2012.

The pilot's personal flight logbooks were not recovered. According to his last application for a medical certificate, he reported a total flight time of 600 hours, 40 of which he accumulated in the 6 months prior to the medical examination. On his application form, the pilot reported that he had previously been convicted of a traffic violation consisting of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense in 1994; he did not note any other convictions or violations.

The right-seated pilot owned the airplane, with the bill of sale showing a purchase date of December 2011. An acquaintance of the pilot stated that he sold him fuel about 1800 on the day of the accident in Fresno. The pilot indicated that he was going to fly to Tahoe for dinner. He recalled a recent conversation he had with the pilot when he advised him to lean the airplane's engine while operating on the ground while at high-elevation airports. He speculated that the pilot may have followed his advice, but then failed to enrich the mixture prior to departure.

Second Pilot

According to the FAA airmen records, the left-seated pilot, age 60, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane rating for single-engine land. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued March 28, 2011 with the restriction that he must wear corrective lenses.

The left-seated pilot's personal flight records were not recovered. On his last application for a medical certificate, he reported a total flight time of 1,025 hours, of which 37 hours were accumulated in the last six months.

Passenger information

The passengers included the pilots' spouses and the right-seated pilots' six-year old daughter. Neither of the spouses were certificated pilots.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Piper PA-32-301T, serial number (s/n) 32-8024044, was manufactured in 1980. A review of the logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was performed on September 14, 2011 at a total time of 3,380.76 hours,

The powerplant, a Lycoming Engines TIO-540-S1AD, s/n L5741-61A, was last overhauled in November 2007, equating to 212.76 operational hours before the last annual inspection. The maintenance records listed the last maintenance as occurring on February 14, 2012, at which time the following items were replaced: the vacuum pump, oil filter, co-pilot seat linkage rod, and battery. The propeller, installed in November 2007 under a supplemental type certificate (STC), was a MT-Propeller MTV-9-B (s/n 070165) composite 3-bladed propeller.

A review of the airplane's history revealed that it had been involved in an accident (MIA05LA070) in April 2006 causing substantial damage to the aircraft. The probable cause was determined to be a result of the pilot losing directional control during a crosswind landing.

According to the Lycoming Engines Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC) PC 315-5, Section 2, page 2-5, the fuel pump installed on the engine was incorrect. The fuel pump listed for this engine model was RG-9570-P and a review of the engine logbook indicated that an RG9080J6A (s/n D-2570) had been installed at the overhaul dated October 17, 1991. The approval basis for the installation of this fuel pump was not documented in the record and could therefore not be determined. Additionally, there was no record indicating when the originally installed fuel pump was removed and the current one was installed.

Weight and Balance

Weight and balance computations were made for the accident takeoff and based on the airplane's empty weight, total moment, and center of gravity that were obtained from the maintenance records. The takeoff condition was calculated for a full fuel tank condition based on the FBO personnel statements and fuel receipts showing the addition of 32.3 gallons, which topped off the tanks with full fuel (total fuel capacity was 107 gallons, of which 5 gallons was unusable). The occupant weights and seating positions were obtained from the Department of Coroner, Sacramento, California and based on their self-reported driver's license weights; the child's weight was estimated. The detailed computations are appended to this report.

For the takeoff condition, the gross weight was about 3,557 pounds and the center of gravity was 91.78-inches. The maximum authorized gross takeoff weight was 3,600 pounds with the center of gravity range at that weight between 90 and 95 inches forward and aft, respectively.

Review of the Piper Aircraft Corporation Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) for the airplane disclosed that with the flaps in the retracted position, at the maximum gross weight, the takeoff distance required over a 50-foot obstacle at maximum effort was just less than 3,000 feet.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at the airport, indicated that about 10 minutes after the accident the conditions were as follows: wind was from 200 degrees at 3 knots; temperature 16-degrees Celsius; dew point 3-degrees Celsius; sky clear; and altimeter 30.08 inHg. These conditions equate to a density altitude of 7,751 feet.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, on the night of the accident, the time of sunset was 1940. At the time of the accident, the moon was waxing gibbous with 64-percent of the visible disk illuminated -1.61 degrees below the horizon on an azimuth of 285 degrees.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The Airport/ Facility Directory (AFD), indicated that the Lake Tahoe Airport (TVL) runway 36 was about 8,540 feet long and 100 feet wide. The runway surface was composed of asphalt. The airport elevation was 6.269 feet msl. The uncontrolled airport was situated in class "E" airspace. In the remarks section of the AFD was a note "345 ft. trees, 5700 ft. from runway, 500 ft. right of centerline, 15:1 slope to clear."

The airport was situated in the valley on the south shore of the lake, with the departure end of the runway about 2.5 nautical miles south of the shoreline. The mountain peaks and ridges that surrounded the valley rose to elevations in excess of 9,900 feet msl.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT

The accident site was located in high shrub about 0.43 nautical mile (nm) from the departure end of runway 36 on a heading of 359 degrees. In character, the terrain was flat, and populated by scattered mature large bush that bordered the north-south oriented creek adjacent to the site. The main wreckage was located at an estimated 38 degrees 54.75 minutes north latitude and -119 degrees 59.533 minutes west longitude, and at an elevation of about 6,255 feet msl.

The main wreckage, consisting of the engine and remains of the fuselage, came to rest inverted in tall brush and had burned the terrain in the surrounding 5 to 10 feet. The wreckage was consumed by post-impact fire and a majority of the wings and skin panels were molten metal and ash. The front of the airplane (nose section) was measured to be pointed to a magnetic bearing of about 160 degrees.

The first identified impact point consisted of broken trees located about 260 feet south of the main wreckage, where a 3.5-foot section of the right outboard wing (near the aileron pivot) was entangled in the branches. The inboard area of that wing was deformed aft about 2 feet 2 inches from the leading edge creating an accordion appearance, with the aluminum skin folded over on itself. This u-shaped divot that was about 1 foot and 5 inches in diameter and still had a portion of upper skin attached. The right aileron was located in an adjacent tree. Additionally, there was about a 1 foot section of the right side outboard stabilator found along the debris trail.

The impact created a 5-foot long crater-like depression about 20 feet prior to the main wreckage, the crater was consistent in size and orientation of the fuselage. The main wreckage was found on a heading of about 020 degrees from that disturbance, consistent with the airplane traveling in that direction and colliding into terrain before flipping over inverted.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION


The Department of Coroner Sacramento completed autopsies on both pilots. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory performed toxicological testing on their specimens.


The results of analysis of the right-pilot's specimens revealed the following:

>> 33 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Blood (heart)

>> 54 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Vitreous
>> 41 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Brain
>> 40 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine
>> 37 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Muscle

The results of analysis of the left-pilot's specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.


TESTS AND RESEARCH


Following the on-site investigation an additional examination of the wreckage was conducted on August 28, 2012, at the facilities of Plain Parts, Sacramento, California. Present to the examination was a Safety Board investigator, as well as representatives from both Piper Aircraft and Textron Lycoming.


Airframe


The left wing and its respective control surfaces were mostly consumed by post impact fire. The left main landing gear, wingtip, and several pieces of skin were located at the main wreckage and remained with remnants of the main spar. The aileron control cable was secure to the bellcrank and continuous to the control wheel chain. The balance cable was secure to the bellcrank attach point and continuous to the right side aileron bellcrank. The left fuel filler cap was found in the skin pieces and observed to be secured in place.


The inboard portion of the right wing was consumed in the post impact fire. The right main landing gear structure remained with a portion of the main spar. Both the aileron control cable and the balance cable were secure to the bellcrank. The control cable was continuous and secure to the control wheel chain. The balance cable was continuous and secure to the left bellcrank. The right fuel filler cap was found in the skin pieces and observed to be secured in place.


The flap torque tube was loose in the wreckage, with the surrounding structure having been consumed by fire. The flap handle was positioned between the fully retracted position and first notch (10-degree) setting.

A majority of the empennage was consumed in the post impact fire. The remaining parts of the empennage were manufactured from steel and included the lower rudder bellcrank hinge point (with stop bolts), one stabilator hinge (with stop bolts) and the control cables. Both rudder cables were secure to the rudder bellcrank and continuous to the rudder pedals in the cockpit. Both the stabilator cables were secure to the balance tube and continuous to the control wheel T-bar in the cockpit. The stabilator pitch trim drum showed a nine-thread upper extension, which according to the Piper representative was consistent with a position of about a 3-degree nose-up trim.


Removal of the fuel selector revealed that it was positioned on the left main fuel tank. The remainder of the fuel system had been consumed by fire. The instruments and radios were destroyed by impact and fire and provided no useful information.


Engine


An external visual examination of the engine revealed that it remained attached to the engine mounts. The engine case and accessories sustained deformation from a combination of impact energy forces and being subjected to the post impact ground fire. There was no evidence of pre impact catastrophic mechanical malfunction or fire.


The top spark plugs were removed; no mechanical damage was noted and the electrodes and posts exhibited a light ash gray coloration, which corresponds to normal operation according to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug AV-27 Chart.; the upper No.2 plug had a light film of oil, which is consistent with the engine coming to rest inverted.


The ignition harnesses were consumed by fire, but appeared to have been attached from both magnetos and their respective spark plugs. The single drive dual magneto was found securely clamped at the mounting pad and had been subjected to fire. The magneto sustained varying degrees of damage that rendered the unit inoperative and therefore, could not be functionally tested.


The crankshaft was rotated by hand utilizing the propeller. The crankshaft was free and easy to rotate in both directions. "Thumb" compression was observed in proper order on all six cylinders. The complete valve train was observed to operate in proper order, and appeared to be free of any pre-mishap mechanical malfunction. Normal "lift action" was observed at each rocker assembly. Clean, uncontaminated oil was observed at all six rockerbox areas. Mechanical continuity was established throughout the rotating group, valve train and accessory section during hand rotation of the crankshaft.


The cylinder assemblies were removed, examined and photographed. The cylinder(s) combustion chamber and barrels remained mechanically undamaged, and there was no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation. The valves were intact and undamaged. There was no evidence of valve to piston face contact observed. The pistons were intact. The ring assemblies at each piston were intact and free to rotate within their respective ring land. According to the Lycoming representative, the gas path and combustion signatures observed at the spark plugs, combustion chambers and exhaust system components displayed coloration consistent with normal operation. There was no oil residue observed in the exhaust system gas path. The exhaust system was found free of obstructions.

The vacuum pump, mounted on the accessory case, remained affixed to its respective flange. The drive coupler was melted due to thermal effect. The rotor/vanes were undamaged when opened for examination. The oil suction screen was found secure and uncontaminated by any pre-mishap debris. The oil filter was destroyed by fire. There was no evidence observed of any pre-mishap lubrication system contamination found during the examination.


The turbocharger system components remained secure at their respective mountings and had sustained varying degrees of thermal effect damage resulting from the post impact ground fire. The turbocharger compressor and turbine impellers remained intact and undamaged. The turbine was free to hand rotate. The turbocharger was disassembled and remained free of pre-impact anomalies. Each exhaust system clamp was secure at each location. The exhaust bypass butterfly valve remained intact and undamaged.


All engine compartment fuel lines were found to be in place and secure at their respective fitting of each fuel system component. Each fuel system component sustained some degree of thermal effect damage that rendered them unsuitable for testing. The fuel injection servo remained securely attached at the mounting pad of the plenum. The fuel servo had sustained moderate thermal effect damage resulting from the post impact fire.


The throttle and mixture control cables were found securely attached at their respective control arms on the servo. The servo fuel inlet screen was found properly installed and free of contamination. The fuel injection servo and induction system were examined and observed to be free of obstruction. The fuel injection nozzles remained secure at each cylinder with the respective fuel line attached. The fuel pump, part number RG9080J6A/X, s/n B-551, was attached to the engine at the mounting pad. The fuel lines remained secure at their respective fittings. Removal and disassembly of the fuel pump revealed that it remained free of internal mechanical malfunction and obstruction to flow.


Propeller


The propeller was a MT-propeller Model MTV9-B, s/n 070165 installed by STC SA02695CH. The hub was secure to the engine. The composite/wooden three bladed constant speed propeller hub remained attached at the crankshaft flange. The composite/wooden propeller blades remained secure within their respective hub sockets. The propeller blades had been fractured/splintered leaving approximately 8 inches of blade remaining at each location. The detached blade sections were consumed in the post impact ground fire.


The propeller governor, a Hartzell F-4-11BZ (s/n D974UJ) was securely attached at the mounting pad with the pitch control rod securely attached at the control wheel. The governor was removed for examination. The drive was intact and freely rotated by hand. The gasket screen was free of visible contamination. The governor was disassembled.


There was no evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures found during the examination of the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.


http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/N588ET  

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA369
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 25, 2012 in South Lake Tahoe, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-301T, registration: N588ET
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 25, 2012, about 2145 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-32-301T Saratoga, N558ET, impacted trees shortly after departing from Lake Tahoe Airport, South Lake Tahoe, California. The right-seated pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The five occupants, which included the right and left-seated private pilots, were fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal cross-country flight was originating from Lake Tahoe Airport, with a planned destination of Fresno, California. Nighttime visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The occupants departed Fresno earlier that day and landed at Lake Tahoe Airport. After touchdown, a pilot was in communication with two fixed base operator (FBO) attendants and received directions of where to taxi the airplane. While taxiing to the ramp, the airplane’s engine shutdown and it took numerous attempts for the pilots to restart it. Upon parking, the pilots reported to the attendants that the airplane’s fuel/air mixture was difficult to establish at such a high density altitude and that if you operate the engine too lean its temperature will exceed normal operation parameters.

Following dinner, the occupants returned to the airport with the intention of flying back to Fresno, where the airplane was based. One of pilots made a radio transmission on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (UNICOM) stating that they were departing runway 36 and making a “straight out over the lake departure and then a crosswind departure to the left.”

A review of the recorded security camera footage at the airport revealed that the airplane could be seen in the nighttime conditions by a blinking light. The airplane appeared to depart from runway 36 and near the end of the runway began an ascent. The light appeared to level off and then a flash of light occurs in the area of the accident site.

Numerous witnesses reported hearing the airplane depart and noticed that the engine noise sounded labored, as if it was not producing full power. The airplane impacted trees located about 0.43 nautical miles (nm) north of the departure end of runway 36 and came to rest about 300 feet further north.


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 588ET        Make/Model: PA32      Description: PA-32 Cherokee Six, Six, Saratoga, Turbo
  Date: 08/26/2012     Time: 0445

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: SOUTH LAKE TAHOE   State: CA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED INTO A WOODED AREA SHORTLY AFTER DEPARTURE, THE 5 PERSONS 
  ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED, NEAR SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   5
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   4     Fat:   4     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: SACRAMENTO, CA  (WP25)                Entry date: 08/27/2012 



 Harold and Kin Cardwell sadly died in the plane crash on Saturday night

A 1-acre circular area burned after a plane crashed Aug. 25 after taking off from Lake Tahoe Airport. Photo/Claire Fortier

 
The pilot was unable to gain altitude after take-off. 
Photo/Claire Fortier



Horror as birthday celebration ends with five people dying in Lake Tahoe plane crash

Five people from Fresno who were in South Lake Tahoe for a birthday celebration died Saturday when their plane sputtered and then nosedived into a field just after taking off at 9:45pm.

Francisco de la Mora, who owned the Piper Cherokee, was piloting the single-engine fixed wing craft. Shannon D. Fleck is the other person the plane is registered to.

With de la Mora were his wife, their 5-year-old daughter, and Harold and Kin Cardwell. The plane could seat seven. De la Mora owned JDM Transport, a trucking company, in Fresno. Harold Cardwell was an insurance agent. Information about the victims is still not complete.

“I’m sure he was flying right-hand on this plane,” Stephen Buxton told Lake Tahoe News of Harold Cardwell. “He was an incredible pilot. I’ve flown many times with him. He is the one who taught me to fly.”

Buxton had known the 60-year-old Cardwell for more than 30 years. They met in church. While Buxton is now a pastor in the San Diego area, he never ministered to Cardwell. But Cardwell, who owned an Allstate Insurance franchise in the Fresno area, was Buxton’s agent for several decades.

According to Buxton, two adult daughters from a previous marriage survive Cardwell.

“He was a great guy. He was easy to love,” Buxton said. “I’m going to miss him and I know his kids are going to miss him.”

Officials from Mountain West Aviation, which runs the plane operations at the local airport, told investigators the Piper landed Aug. 25 at the South Lake Tahoe airport for a few hours and that the occupants requested a taxi. No gas or other services were requested.

Read more:   http://www.laketahoenews.net


 A small, single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport on Lake Tahoe's south shore, killing the five people on board who were celebrating a birthday.

The single-engine plane burst into flames upon impact late Saturday night in a wooded area near South Lake Tahoe, California, El Dorado County sheriff's Lt. Pete Van Arnum said. The crash started a one-acre fire that took more than 90 minutes to put out, he said.

The aircraft is registered to Francisco J. Delamora, of Fresno, California, who is owner of Jdm Transport Inc., a trucking company, said Jose Lopez, a company dispatcher.

Delamora, who was piloting the plane, had taken a 'personal trip' to Lake Tahoe on Saturday with his wife, Lorena, a seven-year-old daughter and his friends Harold and Kin Cardwell. He had planned to return the same day, Lopez said.

'We're waiting to hear from the FAA,' said Lopez, who has worked for the company 11 years. He declined further comment.

Much of the wreckage was destroyed by the fire, making identification of the plane and victims difficult, Arnum said. Authorities wouldn't release any information about the victims until positive identifications have been made, he said.

But friend of the Cardwells confirmed to Lake Tahoe News that Harold and Kin had tragically passed.



 SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating the crash of a small plane after it took off from Lake Tahoe Airport. 

 The small plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Saturday around 9:45 p.m.

The crash ignited a one acre fire in a meadow near the airport close to Winnemucca Avenue, but was quickly extinguished.

Investigators are searching for clues for what caused the crash of a small plane after it took off from Lake Tahoe Airport. 



Witnesses report the plane had apparent engine problems and was seen dipping downward into the ground while attempting to turn.

The FAA reports multiple casualties and no survivors of the crash.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those that perished in this tragic accident. Thanks to the quick and cooperative efforts by multiple agencies; the fire caused by this crash was put out quickly,” said Mayor Claire Fortier.

The names of victims are not being released until families have been notified. 


Read more:    http://sacramento.cbslocal.com

Plane crashes in South Lake Tahoe meadow, authorities presume there are no survivors 
Read more here:  http://www.ksee24.com
Friends of the victims say the couple from Fresno was flying back from a party with another couple on board. 
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Cal. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - El Dorado County authorities say they received reports around 9:48 p.m. on Saturday of a small plane crash in a meadow just east of Winnemucca Road in South Lake Tahoe
El Dorado County Lt. Pete Vanarnum tells News 4 witnesses say they heard a plane having engine trouble.

“Some witnesses saw it attempt to turn, and then dip, and then crashed,” Lt. Vanarnum says.Witnesses told authorities the plane burst into flames on impact.

The plane was burned so badly emergency crews could not identify the size of the plane and how many people were on board.

Lt. Vanarnum says the plane fire started a fire in the surrounding trees and grass.

It took emergency crews an hour and a half to extinguish the fire and it burned about a half of an acre.

Michael Frates was witness and tells News 4 at least 100 people arrived on scene after the crash, but the fire was so large there was nothing anyone could do.

Frates described it as a helpless and heartbreaking feeling.

According to Lt. Vanarnum authorities checked with the Lake Tahoe Airport and no one who filed a flight plan is missing.

He says the airport is no longer controlled by tower so planes can come and go when they want to.

Lt. Vanarnum says there is a possibility, but do not know if the airplane was connected to the 2012 Lake in the Sky Air Show that was at the airport this weekend.

He says the air show finished hours before the plane crashed.

Local emergency crews have cleared the scene.

El Dorado County dispatch tell News 4 the investigation is now in the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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