Saturday, November 19, 2016

Neighbors upset over low-flying helicopter hovering near homes

AUBURN, Wash. -- Auburn residents are upset after a low-flying helicopter hovered near their homes Saturday morning.

Several people took to social media, saying that the helicopter was flying too close to the ground and calling the pilot's actions reckless and dangerous.

Some users have since deleted the videos.

Without a tail number, the Federal Aviation Administration says there's little they can do.

In a statement to KOMO News, Allen Kenitzer with the FAA Office of Communications says the agency is investigating the incident.

Original article can be found here:

Air Tractor AT-502, Spray Tech Aviation Pty Ltd, VH-LIK: Fatal accident occurred November 05, 2016 in Cryon, 50km east of Walgett, NSW, Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR17WA028
Accident occurred Saturday, November 05, 2016 in Walgett, Australia
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT502, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On November 5, 2016, approximately 1000 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (ESuT), an Air Tractor AT-502, Australian registration VH-LIK, collided with terrain about 33 nautical miles south of Walgett, Australia. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Australian government. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau
P.O. Box 967, Civic Square ACT 2608
15 Mort St., Canberra City, Australian Capital Territory
Telephone: +61 2 6274 6471
Fax: +61 2 6274 6434

A report will be prepared for the Coroner following the death of a man in the state’s north, just near Walgett, NSW Police say.

Just after 10am today, emergency services were called to a property on Cryon Road, Cryon, after reports a plane had crashed.

Upon arrival, officers attached to Castlereagh Local Area Command located a plane well alight, with Fire & Rescue NSW extinguishing the blaze.

A 46-year-old man, the single occupant of the plane, died at the scene.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will commence an investigation in the circumstances surrounding the incident.

What the Navy says about the 'mystery' plane over Denver

DENVER - Many people contacted 9NEWS on Thursday asking about a “mystery” plane they saw flying over Denver.

Navy spokesperson Lt. Leslie Hubbell says the plane was a E-6B Mercury that was traveling from Travis Air Force Base in California to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

She says it did spend some time over Denver, but didn’t say why.

Hubbell says it’s “normal” for these planes to fly like this, and directed questions about the pattern to the Federal Aviation Administration.

When 9NEWS contacted the FAA, a spokesperson said they don’t comment on military operations.

So part of the mystery plane remains a mystery.

As for the E-6B Mercury, the Navy’s website says it’s a communications relay and strategic airborne command post aircraft that costs a cool $141.7 million.

Its primary function, according to the website, is to relay fleet ballistic missile submarines and serve as a command post for U.S. Strategic Forces.

You can read more about the plane here:


Piper PA-46-350P Malibu, N757NY: Fatal accident occurred May 01, 2019 in Rigolet, NL, Canada -and- Incident occurred November 19, 2016 at Norfolk International Airport (KORF), Virginia

NTSB Identification: GAA19WA248
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 01, 2019 in Rigolet, NL, Canada
Aircraft: PIPER PA46, registration: N757NY
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The government of Canada has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a PIPER PA46 airplane that occurred on May 01, 2019. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the government of Canada's investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

November 19, 2016: Aircraft landed gear up.

Date: 19-NOV-16
Time: 15:55:00Z
Regis#: N757NY
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Virginia

Alan Simpson survived the crash, but succumbed to his injuries.

Sam Rutherford survived the aircraft crash.

A British pilot has described how he regained consciousness after a crash in the northern Canadian wilderness and then texted his wife in Europe to alert rescuers.

Sam Rutherford, 47, was trapped in the aircraft as it teetered on a mountainside in a blizzard, with his flying companion fatally injured beside him.

A nine-man team climbed from Makkovik on the north coast of Labrador to search for the men after their Piper PA-46-350P Malibu struck the mountain. Alan Simpson, 73, a Shropshire farmer who owned the aircraft, survived the initial impact but died during the rescue attempt.

“When I recovered, I saw that Alan was not moving, but still breathing,” Mr Rutherford said. “I immediately put an emergency blanket over him to keep him warm.

Original article can be found here ➤

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- All incoming and outgoing flights were on hold for about three hours at Norfolk International Airport due to a disabled aircraft on the runway.

Steve Sterling, Deputy Executive Director at ORF, said the airport received an emergency field alert from the FAA Norfolk Tower at around 10:45 a.m. reporting that a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu that had just taken off had lost power. It was forced to return to the airport, where it ended up having to land on its belly on the main runway.

"The aircraft sustained structural damage and is being removed by crane. Upon removal of the crane, crews will remove the debris and inspect the runway before reopening the runway," Sterling said in his initial statement.

Sterling reported that the plane had been removed and the runway reopened at around 1:40 pm. 

According to the online flight tracking website, FlightView, dozens of incoming and outgoing flights have either been diverted or delayed.


NORFOLK, Va. – Several flights at the Norfolk International Airport have been delayed due to a disabled plane on the runway.

On Saturday at 10:46 a.m., the airport authority received an emergency alert from the FAA Norfolk Tower about a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu aircraft that had just taken off and lost power.

The aircraft returned and landed on its belly on Runway 23.

Two people were on board, but no one was injured.

The aircraft was damaged and is being removed by crane.

Once it is removed, crews will remove the debris and inspect the runway before reopening the runway.

Until the aircraft is removed, the runway is closed.


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A disabled aircraft at the Norfolk International Airport runway caused flight delays coming in and going out of the airport on Saturday.

Officials say that around 10:46 a.m., Authority received an emergency field alert from the FAA Norfolk Tower of a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu that had just taken off and lost power. The aircraft returned and landed on its belly on Runway 23.

The aircraft sustained structural damage but the two people in the aircraft were not injured. The aircraft was removed by a crane. and crews removed the debris. Officials say the runway has been reopened. 


Tuscola Area Airport doubles as taxpayer-funded, private hunting preserve

A sign marking the perimeter of the Tuscola Area Airport with a truck in the distance at dusk on Wednesday. The taxpayer-funded airport is open to hunting for a select few.

Using a telephoto lens from M-81, this truck was one of several seen parked near the woods at the Tuscola Area Airport this week.

Most people know it as the Tuscola Area Airport, but for a select special few throughout the year – it’s a taxpayer-funded private hunting preserve, conveniently located just outside of Caro.

And during this first week of Michigan’s 2016 firearm deer season it’s been busy.

That’s because at least six hunters have taken advantage of the opportunity to get prime, private hunting real estate set within the airport’s 130 acres in exchange for volunteering with chores like clearing snow, painting or cutting the grass.

Chris McCollum, manager, Tuscola Area Airport – which is in Indianfields Township, three miles west of Caro – said he thought “it was kinda public knowledge” that anyone could take advantage of the program that rewards volunteers with an opportunity to submit a hunting application at the Tuscola Area Airport. “I always thought it was kinda public knowledge because a few other people had asked about it in the past,” McCollum told The Advertiser. “It was never published or anything like that…it was a kind of word of mouth deal.”

McCollum explained how it’s decided who gets to hunt at the airport.

“Airport property it technically considered private land… the way we do it is people are allowed to hunt based off of volunteering.

“If you volunteer for us, then you have a right to submit a hunting application,” he said. “You choose whatever season – bow, gun, muzzleloader – whatever you want to do and then that would get approved by the board members and then you would have the right to hunt out there.

“So that’s how we operate with our hunting licenses,” McCollum said.

But before anyone starts hooking up their snowplow and heading to the Tuscola Area Airport at 1750 Speirs Drive in Indianfields Township, McCollum said it’s important to note only a very few get the privilege to hunt at the site.

Currently, only six people are approved by the board to hunt at the site, including two of the airport’s four board members – former Caro Mayor Dick Pouliot and current Caro Mayor Joe Greene.

Though McCollum said the other four special hunters were approved by the airport board – which also includes Cass City Village Manager Pete Cristiano and Cass City Village President Carl Palmateer – he said he “wouldn’t feel comfortable” disclosing “the names of the private citizens that hunt back there.”

The Tuscola Area Airport is publicly owned and partially funded by taxes.

For the current fiscal year, Caro contributed about $14,000 and Cass City, about $7,300. The rest of the revenue for the airport comes from the state of Michigan and sales of fuel and hangar rentals, among other things.

The airport is the only general aviation airport located in Tuscola County and is owned and operated by the Tuscola Area Airport Authority.

The authority was incorporated in 1993 and originally included Caro, Cass City, Kingston, Almer Township, and Elkland Township.

Today, only Caro and Cass City are in the authority, which is why they are the only communities represented on the board.

According to a statement in its audit, the “Tuscola Area Airport Authority’s goal is to improve services to the flying public by increasing the economic development of the local communities in Tuscola County. The Authority is working toward increasing traffic into the airport and making improvement to its infrastructure as ways to reach this goal.”

There are 35 aircraft based at the airport. Activities that take place at the airport include corporate transportation, delivery of goods, emergency service and hospital activities, business and agricultural use by local companies, flight training, aircraft maintenance and repair, and recreational uses. The airport is used by representatives of Poet Biorefining in Caro, Walbro Engine Management in Cass City and others, including UPS, Michigan State Police and the University of Michigan Hospital.

It consists of about 260 acres and McCollum said “any part of the airport land could be used for (hunting) really.”

“It’s not like we have just designated acreage,” he said. “As long as it’s in a safe place, in a safe direction. You could probably pop a blind anywhere on the property as long as it isn’t on the runway, of course.”

In general, he said, hunters take an access road at the western part of the property where there isn’t a gate and drive straight back to the wooded area. Some hunters, however, access property on the other side of the airport.

Deer blinds are set up on airport property, he said, though McCollum said none are permanent and didn’t say exactly where they were located.

“Anyone that wants to help out, volunteer time at the airport, it’s based off of that obviously,” McCollum said. “It’s kinda first-come, first-serve.”

However, McCollum said “priority” is given to “a couple of guys that have been helping all along and are kinda always on call for us.”

McCollum said anyone interested must visit the airport office and sign a volunteer form.

“Then if we need help with something, you know, getting rid of snow, painting, maybe there’s just some general upkeep stuff,” he said. “Then if they help with that stuff, come hunting season, they can submit a hunting application which is separate from the volunteer form.”

The airport appears to be in need of more volunteers, too.

As The Advertiser reported in July, the Michigan Department of Transportation has downgraded the license of the Tuscola Area Airport, effectively cutting it off from state and federal funding and potentially costing taxpayers.

A representative from the Michigan Department of Transportation told The Advertiser the airport’s license has changed from “General Utility License” to “Basic Utility License,” following an April inspection.

The type of license generally refers to the aircraft landing zone, though the bigger impact to the public is that airports that carry a basic utility license are ineligible to receive state and federal funds.

The airport depends on such funds for much of its revenue and its five-year plan includes many much-needed upgrades.

Eric Engler — former airport manager who still rents hangar space there — said without government support, taxpayers would likely be asked to fund improvements at the airport or risk losing the local economic impact of the airport.

The Advertiser asked McCollum if he encourages others to take advantage of the opportunity to volunteer at the airport.

“I mean yeah, if they want to,” he said, adding that six is “probably the maximum we would want out there at any given time.”

“We don’t want 15 people out there hunting at the same time because that’s when we could start having issues with safety,” he said.

However, McCollum also said “there’s not a ton of work to be done at the airport.”

“So, you know, we couldn’t have 30 people volunteering because there just wouldn’t be enough stuff for everyone to do,” he said.

McCollum said the decision on granting permission for volunteers to hunt at the airport is “based on how many people already have been approved.”

“We normally give them designated spots,” McCollum said. “So that way everyone’s not stepping on top of one another.”

McCollum said it’s just one of the steps taken to avoid any hunting accidents.

“We’ve got four guys out there right now and they all know where each other hunt so they kinda make sure they face opposite direction of one another,” he said.  “We’ve never had any real problem.”

He also said that the aircraft flying in and out of the airport is too far to affect or be effected by hunters.

Further, hunters must sign a waiver in case something happens at the airport while hunting.

Not everyone is convinced the hunting program is an appropriate use of the limited funds the airport to which it has access.

Engler – who still uses the airport regularly – said he sees grass being cut with equipment and fuel paid for by taxpayers to clear a path for deer.

“The airport’s not mowed but it is out there so they can see the deer – it has nothing to do with the airport itself, it’s just property they have,” he said. “Basically, they’re just cutting it for their own purposes.

“Just basically what everyone uses it for is their own hunting area,” Engler said.

Engler said when he was running the airport, he kept all of the grass completely cut.

With longer grass, he said, deer are actually attracted to the area – something he said he feels is done purposely to improve hunting.

“Somebody’s gonna get hurt out here,” he said.

Sgt. Joe Molnar, acting lieutenant of the Bay City Operations Service Center of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said “Airports are issued special permits to hunt or take deer that pose a safety risk to airplanes. Those would be year-round permits to take out deer that threaten aircraft.”

Molnar said he didn’t know if Tuscola Area Airport had such a permit and that it couldn’t be determined before press time, due to the DNR being in the midst of one of its busiest seasons. McCollum did not mention if Tuscola Area Airport has such a permit.

Molnar said permitted hunting like the kind at Tuscola Area Airport would be akin to crop damage permits issued to farmers whose crops are threatened by animals (though during an interview with The Advertiser, McCollum did not mention hunting is permitted to control population).

“What the DNR Wildlife Division would do is issue a permit stating they are allowed to take deer – sometimes they’ll establish time periods, they’ll establish what can be harvested, when it can be harvested to mitigate risks,” he said.

Molnar added that when such permits are issued, the governing entity must list all potential shooters.

“The airport supervisor would be the one to select who would them be listed under the permit,” he said.

Molnar urged anyone who suspects poaching or other illegal activity to call the state DNR’s poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

Original article can be found here:

No deal for Adirondack Regional Airport: Harrietstown board questions potential buyer

Marshall Schecter, right, of Montreal, talks to the Harrietstown town board Thursday about his plan to buy the Adirondack Regional Airport as his real estate agent, Allen Olmstead, listens. 

SARANAC LAKE — A Canadian man’s offer to buy the Adirondack Regional Airport from the town of Harrietstown appears to have crashed shortly after takeoff.

Marshall Schecter has been talking to town officials for the last few weeks. He told the town board Thursday that he wants to turn the airport into a private aircraft maintenance hub that would employ 150 to 200 people, one of several such facilities he’s planning to build around the world.

Town officials were leery, however, as Schecter’s proposal would mean the end of commercial and private plane service at the Lake Clear facility.

They also questioned whether Schecter’s plan was legitimate, as he was unwilling to provide the town with more information, including financial statements and even the name of his company.

Allen Olmstead of Syracuse-based Canaan Realty speaks on behalf of Marshall Schecter at Thursday night's Harrietstown town board meeting. 


At the start of Thursday’s meeting, Supervisor Mike Kilroy noted that Schecter had given the town a series of non-disclosure agreements and said he wanted to meet with the board in a closed-door executive session. Kilroy said the town couldn’t do that under the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Law.

Allen Olmsted of Syracuse-based Canaan Realty initially spoke on behalf of Schecter. He said his client is interested in purchasing the airport and its adjacent business park, but he acknowledged that it would be a complicated deal that would take several years to complete.

“There’s a lot of moving parts that would have to come into play,” Olmstead said. “There’s leases there. There’s tenants that are there. There’s the (Federal Aviation Administration). There’s money that has been borrowed or granted from the FAA. All of that would have to be taken into consideration from the town’s standpoint.”

Another issue is that Paul Smith’s College, which gave the land to the town for the airport, would have to approve the deal, per a covenant in its decades-old agreement with the town.

Two private jets sit on the tarmac at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear in September.


Asked by Councilman Howard Riley what his vision is for the airport, Schecter said the plan is to build roughly 500,000 square feet of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, plus hangar space and an FBO, or fixed base operator, which provides aviation services.

“It would act as a hub for us in North America,” Schecter said. “We would fly our planes and helicopters in and out and take care of them. We’d have the same alternate in Europe, probably in Germany, and eventually one in Asia as well.”

Riley asked if Schecter already owns a fleet of planes and helicopters. Schecter said he would be “procuring them” over the next few years, but he couldn’t provide details. He said he was under non-disclosure agreements with 35 people around the world.

The operation would be private, not open to the public, but would create 150 to 200 jobs with salaries of $75,000 to $100,000, Schecter said.

Riley asked how Schecter’s operation would make any money.

“We’re not bottom line driven,” Schecter said. “It’s involved in our business operations and we fund it. It’s not a situation where someone will come in and you’ll make money on fuel and labor. It’s a central hub, strictly for our aviation.”

Schecter said the Lake Clear airport is one of two sites being considered for his North American hub. The other is in Colorado, he claimed.


Riley noted the airport would lose its commercial service, currently provided by Cape Air. Private plane owners who fly into Lake Clear, including those who have seasonal camps in the area, would also no longer be able to use the airport.

“But you have to look at the impact of what 150 to 200 jobs is going to do for the airport,” Schecter said. He also noted that the airport typically operates at a loss for the town.

Councilman Ron Keough said he knows some taxpayers would be happy to see the airport be sold off.

“But I have some deep reservations about losing a service to the region,” Keough said. “I know the value and need for people who fly out of Adirondack Regional Airport. There are jobs and businesses in this area that utilize that service to get all around the world.”

“I’d love to see a nice big fat check,” Kilroy said, “but if it’s going to put our people at a disadvantage, I’m with Ron. It would be nice to have that off the tax rolls; however, now we’ve got people who’ve bought (homes) here, have their planes here or use it to get to Boston. I’m a little reluctant at this stage.”

Back and forth

Kilroy also said he hadn’t seen enough detail from Schecter to make him comfortable with a potential deal.

“I know your name. I know where you’re from, but I haven’t seen any financial statements,” Kilroy said.

“You never will,” Schecter said.

“Then I think this conversation is over,” Kilroy said.

Schecter thanked the board and headed toward the door, but not before pointing at Kilroy and saying, “And never hang up on me again.”

“Good night,” Kilroy said. “Good-bye.”

“You’re arrogant,” Schecter responded.

After Schecter left, town officials said they didn’t think the proposal should go any further.

“My opinion is that ought to be the last meeting we have,” said Riley. “That airport is too important to the region.”

Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch, who didn’t speak during the meeting, said later that he gave Schecter a tour of the airport, “but as things went on, it seemed less and less likely to be legitimate.

“He didn’t seem to be concerned with the stuff that’s normal obstacles for other people. Cost never seemed to be a concern, and that’s a concern for everybody.”

Dead deal?

After the meeting, Schecter declined to provide the Enterprise with any more information about his company, even its name.

“I have many names. I don’t even want to get into it,” he said. “I’ve been vetted all around the world. (Kilroy) wants financial statements. Let me tell you something: The new president of the United States (Donald Trump) doesn’t give his financials. I don’t have to give my financials out.”

However, Schecter said he would provide necessary financial information to the FAA.

“But not the people you’re buying the airport from?” he was asked.

“Well, what do they have to know as long as they get the check?” Schecter responded.

Asked if an agreement is still possible, Schecter said not as long as Kilroy is involved.

“I’m not interested in dealing with a person like this,” he said. “So as far as I’m concerned, the deal is dead.”

Original article can be found here:

Potential Adirondack Regional Airport buyer’s financial history unclear

Marshall Schecter of Montreal talks to the Harrietstown town board Thursday about his plan to buy the Adirondack Regional Airport.

SARANAC LAKE — The Quebec man who said he wants to buy the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear had no income and was living in his mother’s house as recently as 2014, according to court documents.

Marshall Schecter has also been involved in a string of lawsuits and claims in Canadian courts over the last 10-plus years.

He has formed a series of corporations under Canadian law, but they all list a home owned by his mother in the Montreal suburb of Dorval, Quebec, as the company address.

Town officials say what little they know about Schecter doesn’t support his having the necessary financial wherewithal to pull off the deal he laid out during Thursday’s town board meeting.

“There is just nothing substantial that we could sink our teeth into,” said town Councilman Ed Goetz.

No backup

A representative of Schecter initially approached the town about buying a lot on the business park next to the airport.

“They were interested in the business park to put this project on,” said Councilman Ron Keough. “It was very vague.”

After an initial back-and-forth, Keough said the discussion expanded to include Schecter possibly purchasing the business park and the airport, which total about 1,500 acres. He told the town he wanted to build roughly 500,000 square feet of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities that would employ 150 to 200 people.

“But there wasn’t much backup in terms of who he was or where the money was coming from,” Keough said.

Those questions loomed large and unanswered during Schecter’s meeting with the town board, which ended abruptly after Kilroy asked Schecter to provide financial statements. Schecter said he “never will” and then walked out the door, calling Kilroy “arrogant” as a parting shot.

Court cases

Before Thursday’s meeting, town officials had looked into Schecter’s background. Town Attorney James Maher said he found a series of Canadian court cases that raised questions about Schecter’s demeanor and his financial ability to carry out an airport deal.

In April of last year, the Court of Quebec’s civil division issued a ruling in a car rental contract dispute between Schecter and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The car company claimed Schecter owed more than $7,000 in late rental payments and excess mileage.

In a counterclaim, Schecter argued that Mercedes-Benz’s actions adversely affected his credit, to the extent that his mother had to co-sign a contract for him to lease another car. The court, after reviewing the documents, rejected Schecter’s counterclaim and found “intervention of the mother of the defendant is essentially due to the fact that (he) has no income and is not owner of the house where he lived, which is owned by his mother.” The court ordered Schecter to pay the money he owed, plus interest.

“When I read the Mercedes-Benz case, as the town’s attorney I became very skeptical that he could follow through with the plan he was proposing (to buy the airport),” Maher said.

Among other court cases, Schecter has sued a furniture company for selling him a defective dinette set. He sued the developer of a luxury condominium he purchased for his family. More recently, Schechter sought an injunction in 2013 against the city of Dorval for not doing enough to deal with people who use a park across from his mother’s lakefront house for windsurfing and kitesurfing.


Schecter has apparently formed more than 10 corporations in Canada, listing himself as the director, according to the Corporations Canada government database. Their names include Marine, Land & Air Corporation, Number 18 Corporation, Swiftwave Inc., Platinum Benefits America Inc. and Mylestone (Constellation) Corporation, among others.

The companies all share the same address: 2365 Lakeshore Drive in Dorval. City property records show that address is owned by Irma Patricia Sabloff, Schecter’s mother.

Other than the listings in the government database and other business databases, there is no online reference to any of these companies or what kind of business they do. Are they real?

“We have no idea,” Kilroy said. “We know his name. We know where he lives. We know he’s been involved in several court cases. He’s been involved in these companies, supposedly. That’s it. We’ve tried to do our best to find out who the hell this guy is. Who knows?”

“The thing that bothers me is he’s not willing to show us anything we could hang our hat on as far his financial banking of this,” Goetz said. “It was really mysterious to me as to what he really wanted to do, and why did he pick the airport here?”

Lawsuit threatened

Schecter called the Enterprise Friday morning and reiterated that he wasn’t willing to give the town his financials, saying he didn’t want them to be public. He said he doesn’t have to prove anything to the town.

Schecter said he was on the phone earlier in the day with “the people in the upper echelon in the government in New York state, reporting back to them,” but he wouldn’t say whom he spoke with. During Thursday’s town board meeting, Schecter also said he had contacted Empire State Development officials and claimed they were behind his plan.

ESD Director of Communications Jason Conwall said his agency looked into the matter Friday afternoon and was unable to confirm its staff have had conversations with Schecter or support his proposal.

Schecter threatened to sue this reporter and the Enterprise if it publishes anything “derogatory” about him, “and then we’ll see who’s right and wrong.

“You go ahead, you write whatever you want. I know that whatever you write, it’s not true.”

Original article can be found here:

Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II, American Medflight Inc., N779MF: Fatal accident occurred November 18, 2016 near Elko Regional Airport (KEKO), Nevada

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report  -  National Transportation Safety Board:


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Reno FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA024
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, November 18, 2016 in Elko, NV
Aircraft: PIPER PA 31T, registration: N779MF
Injuries: 4 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 November 18, 2016, about 1920 Pacific standard time, a twin-engine, turbine powered, Piper PA-31T "Cheyenne II" airplane, N779MF, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control during initial climb from the Elko Regional Airport, Elko, Nevada. The pilot, two medical crewmembers and one patient sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was being operated as an instrument flight rules (IFR) air transport medical flight by American Med Flight, Inc. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an FAA instrument flight plan was filed but had not been activated for the intended flight to Salt Lake City, Utah.

During a telephone conversation with a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator, a witness located at the Elko Airport, reported that the airplane departed runway 06. During the initial climb, he stated that the airplane made an initial left turn about 30 degrees from the runway heading, then stopped climbing and made an abrupt left bank and descended out of his line of sight. 

The airplane impacted into a parking lot about .5 miles from the departure end of the runway, and immediately burst into flames. Several secondary explosions happened after impact as a result of fire damage to medical compressed gas bottles and several vehicles that were consumed by the post impact fire. The airplane sustained extensive thermal damage from the postcrash fire. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the wreckage.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location, and detailed examinations of the airframe and engines are pending.

The closest weather reporting facility is the Elko Regional Airport (EKO). At 1856, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) at EKO reported wind 110 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clear skies; temperature 33 degrees F; dew point 19 degrees F; altimeter 30.11 inHg.

NIBLEY, Cache County — Loved ones remembered fallen paramedic Jacob Jay Shepherd as intelligent, honorable and energetic as they paid their respects Monday and laid him to rest.

Shepherd's service as a paramedic "was an honor to him and to his wife," said his uncle, James Morrill.

"We will honor Jake. And we rejoice (in) Jake," Morrill said after the services. "And we love Jake for all the things that he did for others that we didn't know, that we are learning about (for his job)."

Shepherd, 24, was aboard a medical service plane that crashed Nov. 18 in Elko, Nevada, while transporting a man to University Hospital in Salt Lake City. He and three others, including the patient who was being transported for open-heart surgery, were killed on impact.

The husband and father of three was a paramedic with Mountain West Ambulance, which coordinates with Tooele County Emergency Medical Services. Tooele police called Shepherd "one of our own community's heroes" in announcing the tragic news.

Family and friends gathered for Shepherd's funeral at the LDS Stake Center in Nibley, where the Utah Firefighters Emerald Society paid tribute to him in a performance featuring the bagpipe, a drum corps and an honor guard. Graveside services were then held in Mendon City Cemetery.

"Today has been a real roller coaster up and down," Morrill said. "But (to see) the amount of people (and) strength of people — the EMS, all the firefighters, police … has been uplifting."

Shepherd's family is banding together to cope in the aftermath of his death, Morrill said.

"This is something that is very tragic, and something that we have to live with and help each other out," he said.

Morrill said his nephew was dedicated to his job, but also knew how to "have a really good time." Shepherd was brilliant, his uncle said.

"Jake served well, very honorably. … He would be out on a flight and he could rig up a pen or any other thing to help, and he was amazing," Morrill said. "Jake spent numerous hours studying what he already learned to become a better EMT."

Morrill's son, Matthew, said his whole family was "heartbroken" to learn of his cousin's death.

"He was a really good man and … the best cousin that I ever had," the boy said.

Family, friends and an honor guard accompany Jake Shepherd's casket during graveside services in Mendon on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Shepherd was one of three crew members of a medical aircraft that crashed just after takeoff on Nov. 18 while transporting a patient from Elko, Nevada, to University Hospital in Salt Lake City. All four people died in the crash. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Shepherd's obituary in the Deseret News said his life was filled with selflessness.

"Jake's life was based on serving others, it was not merely something he did but it was who he was. His love of serving others is what drove him," the obituary states. "He loved all people as was demonstrated through his daily acts of service and generosity. All those that met him felt they were better for having known him. His contagious laugh, quick wit, and off the wall sense of humor positively affected everyone who was lucky enough to experience it."

The obituary went on to say Shepherd will be "remembered for his unyielding kindness, tenderness, unconditional love, devotion, boundless energy, enjoyment of life and continuous service." It also said he appreciated a good practical joke.

"One time he hid under a desk for over an hour just to get a scream, anything for a laugh!" the obituary says. "He loved Halloween and being able to dress up in the craziest costumes and he loved family get-togethers. It wasn't until Jake arrived that the party started."

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the crash that took Shepherd's life. The others who were killed were Elko resident Tiffany Urresti, a nurse on board; Yuji Irie, the 63-year-old pilot from Las Vegas; and Edward Clohesey from Spring Creek, Nevada.

The Piper PA 31 fixed-wing plane crashed into a parking lot just across a roadway adjacent to the Elko Regional Airport, shortly after taking off, the Federal Aviation Administration has said.

Shepherd is survived by his wife, Sadie Brook Shepherd, who was also his high school sweetheart; his 4-year-old son, Jack; his 2-year-old daughter, Ruby; and his 1-year-old son, Dean. He served as a volunteer firefighter, eventually becoming a critical care paramedic and later a flight paramedic, his obituary says.

"He was amazing. He loved to study and better himself," Morrill said. "He lived a long life in how much he did and he learned and he gave." 

Story and photo gallery:

Tiffany Urresti, Flight Nurse

ELKO – Members of the Elko community gathered at the Elko Convention Center to mourn the loss of flight nurse Tiffany Urresti, one of four people who died Nov. 18 in an American Medflight plane crash in Elko.

The convention center was packed Saturday afternoon with representatives from firefighting organizations around the county and other residents who came to pay their final respects.

The hour-long funeral service included a eulogy from Urresti’s fiancĂ© Jim Foster, and the people Urresti worked with throughout her firefighting and nursing career.

Foster talked about Urresti's love of adventure when addressing the crowded auditorium.

“We traveled when we could, exploring new things. Most of that time was me driving and her sleeping,” he joked. “We went kayaking and when we returned we had to buy a kayak. She loved to go fishing as well, even though she was terrible at it.”

John Burruel, president and CEO of American Medflight, said he was impressed with Urresti’s passion as an air nurse. When addressing the crowd, Burruel said finding a flight nurse like her who is able to make life-saving decisions while a patient is in transit is rare.

“She might have been new to flight medicine but she fit,” he said. “When we interview a nurse I ask, “is this a nurse that flies or is this a flight nurse?’ … I want you to know that she was one of a kind. She had that. Tiffany was a flight nurse.”

When Munson spoke again he instructed all of the emergency personnel in attendance to turn on their pagers.
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After turning on their pagers, Munson held his own pager up to the microphone while a dispatcher officially announced the end of Urresti’s duties.

Before Urresti’s coffin was carried out to the hearse by members of the firefighting community, Munson wanted to remind those in attendance that, though her death came too early, Urresti died doing what she loved.

“What I’ll always remember, and what I hope all of you will remember also, is how much work she put in to get where she was,” he said. “That should forever be an inspiration to all of us. She left us doing what she dreamed of doing and no one can ask for any better way.”


Patient Edward Clohesey

 Captain Yuji Irie 

Flight paramedic Jake Shepherd

ELKO – A candlelight vigil begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Angel Park for the victims of Friday night's American Medflight plane crash.

The Air Medical Memorial will honor pilot Yuji Irie, paramedic Jake Shepherd, nurse Tiffany Urresti and patient Edward Clohesey.

Clohesey was a miner who was planning to retire soon, and Urresti was an Elko woman who got her “dream” job with American Medflight just a few weeks ago and was engaged to be married to the assistant director of Elko’s airport.

The four were killed when an American Medflight plane crashed into the Barrick Gold Corp. parking lot around 7:30 p.m., setting off a series of explosions and destroying vehicles but harming no one on the ground.

Read more here:

ELKO -- The four people killed Friday night in the crash of an American Medflight air-ambulance in Elko have been identified as pilot Yuji Irie; medical staff members Jake Shepherd of Utah and Tiffany Urresti of Elko; and patient Edward Clohesey of Spring Creek.

Tiffany Urresti

Tiffany Urresti, 29, was a flight nurse who had been with American Medflight for about two months, according to her parents Debbi and Jim Urresti. They said she had worked as an emergency room nurse at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital before that.

Urresti also was a former firefighter.

Elko Fire Chief Matt Griego talked about Urresti’s involvement with the volunteer fire department and said her father has been with the department 30 years.

“It hits home. The crew is coping as well as they can,” Griego said.

Griego said Urresti was known statewide for her service and there has been an outpouring from all over the state.

She had recently become engaged, according to Griego. He mentioned her fiancé, Elko Regional Airport Assistant Director Jim Foster. They were to be married in May.

Her parents said Tiffany had dreamed for years of working as a flight nurse.

Edward Clohesey

Edward Clohesey was born in 1949 and lived in Spring Creek.

He was a gold miner who had suffered a heart attack in July, according to the Deseret News.

He was a patient of Dr. Rodney Badger at Northeastern Nevada Cardiology.

Clohesey was experiencing chest pains and rapid heartbeat around 5:30 p.m. Friday, after which the decision was made to transport him to a hospital in Utah for open heart surgery.

"He was really looking forward to retirement," Badger told the newspaper. "My heart goes out to his family and friends."

Jake Shepherd

Jake Shepherd was a paramedic for Mountain West Medical Center, operated by Tooele County Emergency Medical Services.

Lt. Ray Clinton with the Tooele County Sheriff's Office told Fox13 News that Shepherd lived in Logan and commuted to work.

He leaves behind a wife and three children, according to KUTV News in Salt Lake City.

His friend Travis Allred said Shepherd died "doing what he loved, being a flight paramedic for American Medflight."

Allred set up a GoFundMe page to help Shepherd’s family.

Yuji Irie

Yuji Irie, 63, was a Japanese immigrant to the United States, according to American Medflight. A statement from the company said:

He wanted to fly his entire life, and never stopped in pursuit of his passion. Indeed, he became a skilled aviator and had saved hundreds of lives over a long career at American Medflight. He was based in Ely, Nevada, the toughest base for inclement weather in the American Medflight system. Despite the fact that Ely often experiences some of the most challenging weather conditions in the lower 48 states, Captain Irie was always ready to fly patients to urban medical centers where they could receive life saving care. His skill as a pilot far exceeded even the best of aviators.

Yuji's family was involved in travel and tourism. As a young man, he worked so hard that he often had little time to pursue his passion as an aviator. As soon as he had the chance in middle age, Yuji learned to fly and quickly built up his talent for aviation. He even bought a small airliner as a younger man in hopes of providing air tours for his travel and tourism business.

Having realized the huge financial obligations of owning an air carrier, Yuji eventually sold his airplane and went to work flying for others. He worked for several aircraft charter companies from Las Vegas all the way to the Mariana Islands in the South Pacific.

Captain Irie found his true life calling at American Medflight. He always was ready to go save a life and always found a way to safely transport his patients and medical crew regardless of the challenges he faced. He often noted that he wanted to finish his entire professional career as a pilot at American Medflight.

John Burruel, American Medflight's President and CEO, remembered Yuji as someone who was unstoppable.

"I've always said that if I had 50 Yuji's, this company would be unstoppable and we'd achieve anything we set out to do. He had the best work ethic I've ever seen and he cared for people with endless energy and compassion.”

Capt. Irie held an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and a First Class Medical Certificate, making him the most highly qualified pilot from both an airman certification and medical evaluation standpoint. He dreamed of building his own aircraft and someday flying it back to Japan. He began on this journey years ago, and his dream aircraft still sits in the garage of his son's home in Las Vegas ... waiting for that incredible flight across the Pacific to Japan.


RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Captain Yuji Irie was killed in a plane crash in Elko, Nev. on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.

Yuji Irie was a Japanese immigrant to the United States. Irie always wanted to fly and never stopped in pursuit of his passion.

He became a skilled aviator and saved hundreds of lives over a long career at American Medflight.

Irie was based out of Ely, Nev. which is considered the toughest base for inclement weather in the American Medflight system.

Captain Irie was not just limited to the lower 48, he was always ready and willing to fly patients to urban medical centers where they could receive life saving care.

As soon as Irie has the chance, he learned how to fly and quickly built up his talent for aviation. He bought a small airliner when he was younger in hopes of providing air tours for his travel and tourism business.

He worked for several aircraft charter companies from Las Vegas all the way to the Mariana Islands in the South Pacific.

Captain Irie found his true life calling at American Medflight. He always was ready to go save a life and always found a way to safely transport his patients and medical crew regardless of the challenges he faced.

John Burruel, American Medflight's President and CEO, remembered Yuji as someone who was unstoppable.

"I've always said that if I had 50 Yuji's, this company would be unstoppable and we'd achieve anything we set out to do. He had the best work ethic I've ever seen and he cared for people with endless energy and compassion".

Captain Irie held an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and a First Class Medical Certificate, making him the most highly qualified pilot from both an airman certification and medical evaluation standpoint. Captain Irie dreamed of building his own aircraft and someday flying it back to Japan.

His dream aircraft still sits in the garage of his son's home in Las Vegas... waiting for the incredible flight across the Pacific Ocean to Japan. 


Friends and family are asking for help to set up a memorial fund for a Tooele County flight paramedic who was killed, along with three others, in an Elko plane crash Friday night.

The Tooele County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday that Jake Shepherd was killed in the crash. Shepherd leaves behind a wife and three children.

A friend of Shepherd set up a GoFundMe page, which said Shepherd died "doing what he loved, being a flight paramedic for American Medflight."

Allen Kenitzer of the FAA Office of Communication said a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne crashed into the ground Friday evening in a parking lot northeast of the Elko airport.

The cause of the crash is unknown as of Saturday evening.

Other victims from the crash include Elko Firefighter Tiffany Urresti, patient Edward Clohese and pilot Yuji Irie.

Story and video:

ELKO, Nevada -- We're learning more about two of the four victims who died in an American Medflight plane crash in Elko, Nevada Friday.

Jake Shepherd and Tiffany Urresti were both medical staff on board the aircraft.

Shepherd was from Utah and worked part-time as a paramedic for Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele. Those who knew and worked with him described Shepherd as a devoted public servant, known for his caring attitude.

"He had a big heart," said Joe Carnell, Ambulance Director with Mountain West. "He was dedicated to his community, he was dedicated to the public."

Carnell said Shepherd was known for his personality and jokes.

"He made everyone smile, laugh," he said. "You'd show up on shift with him, and you were laughing for the next two days."

There's so much to remember about Shepherd. His Mountain West crew spent days at a time with him for the past five years.

"He lived in the station, slept in the station, ate with the crews," Carnell said, of the two-day shifts. "As soon as someone called 911 and needed him, he would be the first one out the door."

Shepherd's public service went beyond his EMT skills. He worked in the Tooele jail for a short time two years ago.

Lieutenant Ray Clinton with the Tooele County Sheriff's Office said Shepherd lived in Logan and commuted.

"This is the community that he loved," he said. "It's going to be tough on the community because he was so well liked."

More recently, Carnell said, Shepherd had been working to complete his Critical Care Paramedic certification and worked in Nevada weekly, flying with a critical care transport team. That was on top of working part-time in Tooele.

Plus, Shepherd was raising a family. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

While they focus on grieving, the City of Elko Fire Department is also left remembering one of their own.

In addition to her medical duties, Tiffany Urresti served as a volunteer firefighter for the very organization that responded to the plane crash.

Elko Fire Chief Matthew Griego said he's known Tiffany her entire life.

"Her and her family have served Elko for a number of years, her dad Jimmy's been with the department 30 years," Chief Griego said, tearing up as he talked. "So, it hits home."

Greigo said Urresti had just gotten engaged.

Both her and Shepherd, tough losses to cope with, especially as each department carries on the public service that the two were known for.

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ELKO, Nev. — One day after four people were killed when a medical aircraft crashed in Elko, Nevada, police say the pilot likely prevented additional casualties by crashing the plane into a parking lot while avoiding nearby homes and businesses.

The pilot, two medical crew and a patient were killed after the American Medflight plane crashed and caught on fire shortly after taking off from Elko Regional Airport Friday at 7:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. MT).

According to the Elko Police Department, Yuji Irie was piloting the aircraft. Tiffany Urresti and Jake Shepherd were aboard as medical staff. The patient was identified as Edward Clohesey.

Lt. Rich Genseal of the Elko Police Department said the plane went down in a parking lot for Barrick Gold Corp., where employees park their personal vehicles before taking buses out to a mine. He said the employees on the active shift had already departed by bus, so there weren’t any people in the lot at the time.

“The plane came down in a parking lot that’s probably only several hundred feet from the apartment complex, multiple dwellings,” he said. “Not to mention the surrounding areas around that is all housing. Where they came down is a parking lot, which happened to be empty at the time… So, for us, there couldn’t have been a safer place for him to come down with that plane without causing additional casualties, so we need to credit the pilot on that.”

Genseal said crashing into the empty lot may have saved lives, and he said by all accounts that part of the crash was no accident. While no one on the ground was hurt, several vehicles were destroyed by fire.

“We truly believe that the pilot did everything he could to avoid any further casualties by putting the plane down where he did,” Genseal said.

Genseal said some of the people killed in the crash are from the area, and the community has been hit hard by the tragedy.

"Some of these individuals, because they were local, it does hit home with us," he said. "A lot of us knew either one or multiple members on this plane. It hits home, pulls at the heartstrings.  It's very neat to see the community turning out, putting out flowers, their attitudes toward the law-enforcement that's been here all night."

Well wishers brought flowers to the site of the crash, and other members of the community brought emergency responders food and drinks and other gestures of support.

Genseal said the Piper PA-31T Cheyenne experienced mechanical problems after take off and appeared to lose power while climbing. He said the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate along with employees from Piper Aircraft to determine exactly what went wrong.


ELKO – Friday night’s fiery American Medflight crash left four people dead and an entire community wondering just what went wrong.

The victims included two local residents, patient Edward Clohesey of Spring Creek and American Medflight crew member Tiffany Urresti of Elko. Also killed were crew member Jake Sheppard of Utah and pilot Yuji Irie, hometown unknown.

Clohesey was being transported to the University of Utah Medical Center because of heart problems, according to his doctor.

Authorities are still trying to determine why the plane crashed after takeoff from Elko Regional Airport around 7:30 p.m.

“What we do know is that an American Med Flight, described as  Piper PA-31T Cheyenne, took off in a northeasterly direction headed to Salt Lake at around 7:30 p.m.,” said Police Lt. Rich Genseal. “As the plane climbed we believe at this point it experienced mechanical problems. We are not sure if it lost power or an engine. We know it lost altitude and crashed in the Barrick parking lot.”

According to Genseal, the plane was engulfed in flames upon impact.

Residents and law enforcement were saddened by the loss and deeply affected by the fact that both Urristi and Clohesey were locals.

“Tiffany was one of our volunteer firefighters,” said Fire Chief Matt Griego. “It hits home.”

At the time of this writing, little was known about Clohesey other than that he was a Spring Creek man and was the patient.

“The plane came down several hundred feet before an apartment complex,” said Genseal. “The parking lot was empty of people at the time.

“For us this could not have been a safer place for him to land. There couldn’t have been a safer place for him to come down without causing additional casualties. We need to credit the pilot on that.”

Genseal also mentioned that a hotel and casino are nearby the parking lot where the plane came down. He also said it was fortunate that Barrick Gold Corp. employees had all boarded the buses and left the vicinity before the crash.

A number of vehicles were destroyed by the crash.

“A lot of us knew either one or multiple members on this plane. It pulls at the heart strings,” said Genseal.

“It’s neat to see the community turning out and putting out flowers,” said Genseal. “Their attitudes toward law enforcement that have been here all night supplying coffee and doughnuts and stuff to eat. It’s huge, because they understand the magnitude of it.”

“At first we were told of explosions,” said Griego about the tragedy. “They were updated en route that in fact there was an aircraft down in the parking lot.”

One engine pulled near the apartment complex and the other proceeded into the parking lot to attend to the blaze and rescue attempt, Griego said.

“There was a very intense fire when firefighters arrived. There were multiple explosions. Engine one parked near the apartments to isolate any flames and the other engine proceeded into the parking lot to attend to the fire to do direct attack on the fire.

“We had approximately seven vehicles as well as the aircraft involved in the fire.” It was a pretty extensive fire when the crews arrived, he added.

Griego went on to mention Urresti’s involvement with the volunteer fire department and her father, Jimmy, has been with the department 30 years.

“It hits home. The crew is coping as well as they can.”

Urresti was known statewide for her service and Griego said there has been an outpouring from all over the state

Sadly, Urresti had recently become engaged, according to Griego.

Law enforcement said that they are still processing the scene and will document vehicular damage so people can report evidence to their insurance agents.

Genseal said the Federal Aviation Administration is on the scene and that someone from the National Transportation and Safety Board is en route.


ELKO, Nev. — The entire crew of a medical aircraft and a patient being transported to University Hospital in Salt Lake City died Friday when the plane crashed just after takeoff.

One of the crew members was a paramedic with Mountain West Ambulance, a service of the Tooele County Emergency Medical Services. Tooele police publicized the local loss via Twitter midday Saturday:

"We've learned that one of the paramedics killed in the American Medflight crash in Elko was one of our own community's heroes. We are deeply saddened at his loss, and the loss of all on board during the flight. Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of these great people. We thank you for your service."

The paramedic's identity and those of the others onboard have not yet been released.

The American Medflight air ambulance was taking a heart patient for further treatment, according to Dr. Rodney Badger, chief of cardiology at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko. He said the plane went down about 9 p.m. in a parking lot across the highway from the airport.

"It's a terrible situation, tragic for the community, tragic for the flight crew," Badger said, adding that the patient had come to the emergency room a few hours earlier with an acute cardiac syndrome.

Badger had been treating the patient, but made the decision to transport him to the U. for open heart surgery — "something we're unable to do in Elko."

The patient, an Elko-based gold miner, had suffered a heart attack in July and had worked closely with Badger.

"He was really looking forward to retirement," Badger said of the patient. "My heart goes out to his family and friends."

He said the air transport program is something they've been trying to get going in Elko — "a big, vibrant town" with about 50,000 people, some of whom need specialized treatment but wish to remain in Elko.

Gabriel Niculescu never thought he would be able to control his stutter. While speech therapy is common for children its availability becomes lesser as people age, but there are options available to adults.

The program, offering limited care locally, has been up and running about six months.

"We're over 225 miles from the nearest hospital with advanced care," Badger said. "So part of our project has been to roll out cardiac programs to the more rural communities like Elko, Rock Springs, Vernal. Unfortunately, this ended in disaster."

He said one of the nurses from the program's new cath lab was on the plane that crashed.

"She's one of our outstanding nurses in the emergency room," he said. "Really an outstanding nurse with advanced skills, compassionate, willing to get on the airplane and accompany the patient to Salt Lake."

It is unknown why the aircraft, a Piper PA 31 fixed-wing plane, crashed, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the accident. The FAA reported all four on board the plane died upon impact and in the resulting explosion.

The crew on each American Medflight excursion typically includes an experienced pilot, flight nurse and paramedic, as well as the patient, according to the company's website.

"We are devastated by this event and wish we had answers to the many questions being asked at this time," said a statement from American Medflight President John Burruel. "As an air medical family, we are mourning the loss of our crew members and patient."

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said nobody on the ground was hurt.

"There was not a lot left of the aircraft," said Elko Fire Chief Matt Griego.

A photograph published by the Elko Daily Free Press showed mostly burned wreckage on pavement in front of a line of vehicles in a parking lot. The wreckage included at least one charred pickup and the plane's tail was one of the few recognizable parts.

Burruel said the families of crew members have been notified of the accident.

"Our priority at this time is to look after the well-being of the affected family members and their co-workers and to be responsive to their needs."


ELKO, Nev. -- American MedFlight has confirmed the loss of three crew members and a patient in an air medical aircraft accident Friday evening in Elko, Nevada.

The company released the following statement:

"We are devastated by this event and wish we had answers to the many questions being asked at this time.  We are cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as they investigate the accident.

As an air medical family, we are mourning the loss of our crew members and patient.  Their families have been notified and they are in our thoughts and prayers.  Our priority at this time is to look after the well being of the affected family members and their co-workers and to be responsive to their needs.  We ask the media and interested parties to be patient with the investigation process and honor the privacy of the family and friends of those who have lost their lives."

Several people have been reported dead after a medical transport plane crashed in Elko, Nev. Friday night, according the Elko Daily Free Press.

FOX 13 News first received reports of the accident at about 8:30 p.m. The Elko Daily Free Press reports the medical aircraft was headed to the University of Utah Hospital with a heart patient when it went down.

The aircraft, a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne crashed under unknown circumstances in the Barrick Gold Corp. parking lot, which is northeast of the Elko Regional Airport, said Allen Kenitzer, with the FAA Office of Communications.

Kenitzer added local authorities say four people were on board the plane. He had no information as to the nature of their injuries.

However, Kenitzer said there were no ground injuries.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports the crash caused multiple explosions and sent flames into the air near the Gold Dust Casino, a grocery store and a senior housing complex. Several vehicles also caught fire.

Chet Gilbert, the owner of the nearby Sierra Java coffee shop, said his business was closed Friday night but they have since opened their doors and are offering coffee to people who have been evacuated from nearby businesses and restaurants.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.

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ELKO – A medical transport plane crashed into the Barrick Gold Corp. parking lot on Mountain City Highway Friday night, killing the patient and three crew members.

The crash caused multiple explosions and sent up flames near a busy casino, motel, grocery store and senior housing complex.

Dr. Rodney Badger of Northeastern Nevada Cardiology said the American Medflight plane had just taken off from Elko Regional Airport with a heart patient who was being transported to the University of Utah Medical Center.

Allen Kenitzer of the FAA Office of Communications stated the Piper PA-31T Cheyenne aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances with four people on board. He said there were no injuries on the ground.

“We are devastated by this event and wish we had answers to the many questions being asked at this time,” said a statement from American Medflight.

The airport is located across the highway from the Barrick lot, one of several used by miners who are bused to and from the region’s gold mines.

Elko police Lt. Rich Genseal said authorities assume the crash occurred as the plane was taking off.

“There was not a lot left of the aircraft,” Elko Fire Chief Matt Griego said after the flames were extinguished.

“As an air medical family, we are mourning the loss of our crewmembers and patient,” said the statement from John Burruel, president and CEO of Nevada-based American Medflight Inc. "Their families have been notified and they are in our thoughts and prayers. Our priority at this time is to look after the well being of the affected family members and their co-workers and to be responsive to their needs.”

Badger said his patient suffered from coronary artery disease and was experiencing chest pains and rapid heartbeat around 5:30 p.m., after which the decision was made to transport him to Utah.

Emergency crews were called around 7:30 p.m. and began blocking traffic from the highway and side streets.

Witnesses in the Smith’s shopping mall described a loud bang and felt the explosion as far away as Starbucks. Smoke could be seen from Smith’s parking lot.

Loud explosions were followed by a series of smaller ones as firefighters sprayed water on the flames and called in foam trucks.

The crash occurred on the northeast side of the parking lot, which is next to Hampton Inn, Smith’s Food & Drug, Gold Dust West casino, and an apartment complex for senior and disabled residents.

Elko City Councilman John Patrick Rice said several cars were destroyed or damaged.

The accident occurred between mining shifts, so it is unlikely anyone was in the parking lot when the crash occurred. Barrick buses en route from mines were directed to another company parking lot west of town.

The flames were contained about an hour after the crash but no one was allowed near the scene.

Kenitzer said the FAA and the NTSB will investigate.

American Medflight’s website states it is “the largest, most experienced fixed-wing air ambulance company in Nevada and Eastern California.” The company says it has transported 10,000 patients over hundreds of thousands of miles over the Western United States.

The company returned to Elko in 2014 after a six-year absence.

“Each American Medflight flight crew includes a pilot with a minimum of 4,000 hours of flight time, as well as a highly experienced flight nurse and paramedic,” according to the company.