Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cirrus SR22T, N707DF: Fatal accident occurred February 21, 2018 near Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (KMYF), San Diego, California

Dr. John Serocki

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Diego, California
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: San Diego, CA
Accident Number: WPR18FA093
Date & Time: 02/21/2018, 0631 PST
Registration: N707DF
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On February 21, 2018, about 0631 Pacific standard time, a Cirrus SR22T airplane, N707DF, impacted terrain shortly after taking off from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (MYF), San Diego, California. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage throughout. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from MYF and was destined for Yuma, Arizona.

Witnesses reported that when the airplane was about level with the treetops, the engine sputtered and lost power. The airplane subsequently banked to the right and descended rapidly to the ground.

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP
Registration: N707DF
Model/Series: SR22T
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: MYF, 427 ft msl
Observation Time: 0653 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / -4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 120°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 10000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: San Diego, CA (MYF)
Destination: Yuma, AZ (YUM) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 32.818889, -117.123056 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Dr. John Serocki

YUMA, Ariz. - A small plane crashed in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego Wednesday morning, killing the sole occupant on board.

The Cirrus SR22T departed Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport and went down around 6:30 a.m. 

The plane crashed shortly after the departure, as witnesses saw the plane travel east at a low altitude before crashing into a construction area at a business, according to the San Diego Medical Examiner. 

We spoke with Robert Serocki, who confirms with us that his brother, Dr. John Serocki, was the sole occupant on the plane. The San Diego Medical Examiner also confirmed the identity of the pilot as Dr. John Serocki. 

"Something was wrong with the plane and he tried to turn around. He was not high enough to deploy a parachute," Serocki added.

Robert Serocki recalls the moment he received a phone call from his brother's San Diego office.

"After this person said he was on his way to Yuma, that's when I said 'oh my God are you telling me he's dead?' I sank to my knees and sank to the floor completely and she cried and said 'yes'," Serocki said with a broken voice. 

There are no reports of people on the ground being injured, according to Ian Gregor, FAA Public Affairs Manager.

The plane was headed to Yuma, according to Gregor.

Online records show that the plane is registered to John Serocki, an orthopedic surgeon based at Scripps La Jolla Hospital. According to the official Scripps site, we've also learned that he has an office at 1763 W. 24th Street in Yuma.

The office in Yuma had a sign on the door this morning that read: "Sorry for any inconvenience due to an emergency we will be closing the office for the rest of the week. Thank you." 

Yuma Regional Medical Center reached out to us, sharing their heartfelt condolences following the tragic death of "a surgeon and friend, Dr. John Serocki."

Dr. Serocki practiced in Yuma part time. His career as an orthopedic surgeon extended more than 25 years. During that time, he was notably recognized for his strong work ethic and compassionate manner with patients and staff, YRMC said. 

“This is a difficult day for everyone at Yuma Regional Medical Center, particularly for our surgery staff, who is grieving the loss of a special colleague and friend,” said Dr. Robert Trenschel, President and CEO of YRMC.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating. 

Original article can be found here ➤

One person died Wednesday in the crash of a small plane northeast of an airport in Kearny Mesa. 

John Harvey Serocki, 61, a doctor from Del Mar, was piloting a newer model single-engine plane from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport when for unknown reasons the plane crashed into a building under construction near the intersection of Balboa Avenue and Ruffin Road at approximately 6:30 a.m., the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said. 

There were no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground at the business, according to a spokesperson for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. 

Battalion Chief Grace Yamane said two or three witnesses reported the plane was traveling from the west to the east shortly before the crash.

The plane was at “tree-top level, did not get any lift, rolled and then shortly after crashed,” Yamane said. 

The wreckage could be seen from Newschopper 7 in a dirt area near several buildings a few hundred yards from the edge of a runway at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport. 

Serocki, an orthopedic surgeon, was headed to Yuma, Arizona, where one of his three offices is located, the FAA said. He also practices at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and at Otay Lakes Surgery Center in Chula Vista, according to his personal website.

John's younger brother Robert said that John was a great person who loved to help people.

He said early in John's career, John went to Nepal to help treat underprivileged children. He was also a member of Doctors Without Borders and traveled to Haiti after a devastating earthquake rocked the island in 2010.

John, a graduate of the University of California, San Diego's school of mechanical engineering, even volunteered at a pet hospital, according to Robert.

“He was a really superior person and anyone would be proud to have him as a brother," Robert said.

Robert also said that John loved to stay active by surfing, hiking and running marathons.

To Robert, it never seemed as though John absolutely loved to fly. Instead, it seemed to him like he did it just because it was fast and easy travel.

Robert said he had no knowledge of any previous issues his brother John had with his plane.

It appears John attempted to use a parachute because one was deployed but did not open, Yamane said. 

Andrew Cove was on his way to work and sitting in his car at a nearby stoplight when he noticed the plane.

“I saw the plane going up and all of a sudden it got all quiet and then I see it going nosedive right into the ground,” he said.

Cove said he could not hear the engine of the plane when it crashed.

He and his co-worker pulled into a nearby parking lot to see if they could help.

“There was just no chance,” he said. “All you could see was wreckage.” 

Phylinda Clark Brown works nearby. She didn’t see the crash but heard it and thought it was a large machine at a nearby building. 

“I heard a loud impact,” Clark Brown said. “I thought it was across the street. There’s a lot of big machines and I thought they felt over.”

She added that with the time of day, as people were arriving to work, it is fortunate that no one on the ground was struck by the plane.

The crash was located west of Interstate 15 and east of State Route 163.

Traffic was closed on Ruffin Road between Ridgehaven Court and Balboa Avenue for an unknown duration.

Officials with the FAA and the NTSB were investigating what caused the crash.

Earlier this month, a couple married 48 years died when their single-engine Cessna 182T crashed in Santee. 

John Longhurst, 70, a doctor and professor at the UC Irvine School of Medicine and his wife Cherril Longhurst, 71, were pronounced dead at the scene, less than a mile from Gillespie Field on Feb. 6. 

A cause has not yet been determined in either plane crash. 

Original article can be found here ➤

A small plane crashed shortly after taking off from Montgomery Field early Wednesday morning, diving nose-first into a Kearny Mesa parking lot under construction and killing the pilot, authorities said.

Family members identified the 61-year-old victim as Dr. John Serocki. The orthopedic surgeon practiced at the Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, Ariz., and at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego.

“Today we have lost an exceptional physician, colleague and friend, a man who dedicated his life and career to caring for patients,” said Dr. Bharat Magu, chief medical officer at the Yuma Medical Center, in a statement. “Dr. Serocki was an outstanding physician who genuinely cared for people. His compassion and kind nature will be deeply missed.”

The Cirrus SR22T went down in a fenced-off dirt lot next to a building on Ruffin Road near Balboa Avenue shortly after 6:30 a.m., authorities said.

Serocki, who had planned to fly to Yuma, crashed about a half-mile from Montgomery Field shortly after departing the airport, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. No one on the ground was injured.

According to FAA records, the plane was registered to Serocki. His brother said Serocki had been commuting to Yuma by airplane for work for years.

Witnesses told fire officials that the plane was going from west to east when it went down, San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Grace Yamane said.

“Witnesses saw the plane and it appeared it wasn’t getting enough lift,” she said. “It wasn't continuing to rise — it rolled a couple times and then nose dove into the site.”

There was no fire and any fuel that spilled was immediately handled by crews at the scene, said San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz.

“It did not spread beyond the dirt” where the plane went down, she said. “They were able to mitigate it immediately because they were there so quickly.”

A parachute that was extended but unopened was found near the plane. An FAA official said the chute may been have ejected when the plane hit the ground, as opposed to having been deployed by the pilot while it was in the air, Yamane said.

The plane was largely intact with a crushed nose, although its wings broke off upon impact.

The area where the plane crashed in Kearny Mesa is densely developed with office and industrial buildings. Yamane said it was fortunate that no one else was injured.

“We are lucky that there was no damage to structures and no injuries to anyone on the ground,” she said. “If you were here to see, he landed between two trees, too.”

Firefighters waited to make sure there was no danger from the cylinder that propels the parachute before they removed the pilot’s body from the wreckage.

Serocki began his education in mechanical engineering. He earned a degree in applied mechanics and engineering sciences from UC San Diego in three years, but knew he didn’t want to be an engineer. He ended up getting a master’s in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — but only as a spring board to medical school, his brother said.

He went on to earn a medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, later becaming an orthopedic surgeon. He had practiced for 25 years.

“He was passionate about being a doctor,” Robert Serocki said. “It was something he felt he needed to do.”

His profession took him to Kathmandu, Nepal, where he worked with underprivileged children as a clinician and a researcher, as well as Croatia, where he was a volunteer orthopedic surgeon and clinical instructor for an international relief agency.

He was also a member of Doctors Without Borders.

Serocki worked at Mission Bay Hospital and Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. He began working part time in Yuma in 2012.

When he wasn’t practicing medicine, he was living an active life. He ran half-marathons and marathons and had climbed mountains all over the world, including the Matterhorn. He loved to surf.

Although he was always modest about his many accomplishments, he always reminded his younger brother of the pulp fiction character Doc Savage — a genius, jack-of-all-trades physician.

"He was concerned about being the best possible human being he could be," Robert Serocki said.

The pilot was the only person onboard, Gregor said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Police closed Ruffin Road between Ridgehaven Court and Balboa Drive as emergency crews worked in the area.

According to FAA records, the plane was manufactured in 2017.

Cirrus aircraft are equipped with whole-airplane parachute systems as standard equipment.

According to the company’s website, a pilot can utilize the parachute during an in-flight emergency by pulling a handle to deploy “a solid-fuel rocket out a hatch” where the parachute is stored. That action is supposed to unfurl a 65-foot-diameter canopy which is designed to control the plane’s rate of descent.

Original article ➤

KEARNY MESA (KUSI) — A Del Mar physician was killed Wednesday when his private plane plunged into a Kearny Mesa construction site shortly after takeoff from Montgomery Field.

John Serocki, 61, was embarking a solitary flight to Arizona about 6:30 a.m. when his Cirrus SR22T rolled over in the air and went down in the 4400 block of Ruffin Road, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office and Federal Aviation Administration.

Serocki, an orthopedic surgeon with offices in University City, Chula Vista and Yuma, died at the scene of the crash about a half-mile northwest of the municipal general-aviation airport. Television news footage showed the downed aircraft crumpled in a fenced-in dirt lot, its front end demolished.

Nobody on the ground was injured, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, which occurred amid clear skies just after daybreak. At least one witness account suggested that the engine of the fixed-wing plane lost power or quit altogether just prior to the crash.

An aircraft-mounted parachute designed to allow for survivable descents in cases of power loss deployed during the crash but did not fully open, SDFRD Battalion Chief Grace Yamane told reporters. It was unclear if Serocki had tried to utilize the emergency system, or if it might have activated by itself upon impact, she said.

A congestion alert was issued for Ruffin Road between Balboa Avenue and Ridgehaven Court, where all lanes in both directions were closed for the crash investigation, which was being handled by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

The deadly air accident was the second to occur in the county this month. A Feb. 6 plane crash in Santee near Gillespie Field killed 70-year-old Irvine medical school professor John Longhurst and his 71-year-old wife, Cherril.

Original article can be found here ➤


The Secret Clinic said...

May John rest in peace. Sincere Condolences, Dr Peter Mann

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much fuel was on board? The Article said the fd cleaned it up quickly. Is there a low fuel annunciator light in the SR22T?