Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger, N15381: Accident occurred June 22, 2021 near Big Bear City Airport (L35), San Bernardino County, California

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. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California

Location: Big Bear City, CA
Accident Number: WPR21LA245
Date & Time: June 22, 2021, 13:25 Local
Registration: N15381
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N15381
Model/Series: PA-28-235 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KL35,6749 ft msl 
Observation Time: 13:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C /0°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 10000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 260°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 34.263778,-116.85602 (est)


BIG BEAR CITY (CBSLA) — A single-engine plane crashed and caught fire while trying to land Tuesday at Big Bear City Airport, authorities said.

“There was a horrible explosion,” Cheryl Bennett, a Big Bear resident, said. “I ran to the door, saw all this dirt, because of the plane coming in, and the smoke.”

A Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger was trying to land at the Big Bear City Airport at about 1:30 p.m. when it crashed into a vacant lot in a residential area at the corner of Meadow Lane and Nana Avenue, and caught fire, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Ian Gregor said. Two people were on board.

Authorities said bystanders pulled the pilot and passenger to safety. They were airlifted to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center trauma unit with moderate to serious injuries.

“The woman was screaming that she was on fire,” Bennett said. “So I went into the corner where she was and the neighbor behind helped move the pilot away from the fire.”

Bear Valley Electric crews responded to the scene of the crash to restore power for nearby residents. Power was restored in the late evening after crews were able to repair the fallen lines.

Airport crews were able to start removing the wreckage shortly before 8 p.m. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.

Neighbors said it was windy immediately before the crash, but it was not immediately known if that was a contributing factor.

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