Two victims have died and another was transported to a hospital after a small private plane crashed in a meadow south of Truckee, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office tweeted.
Pilot Kenneth Whitall-Scherfee, 60, of Carmichael was identified as one of the dead by the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday afternoon.
Around 7:35 a.m., a single-engine, four-passenger Navion-B plane crashed less than a mile from the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, said Sgt. Dave Hunt of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The debris field is located in the west of Highway 267 near Mercer Flats, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Pacific Division.
Whitall-Scherfee had reported having issues with the plane’s engine after taking off from the airport, and was trying to return there when the crash took place, Gregor said. The pilot sent out a mayday call after takeoff, the Sheriff’s Office tweeted.
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On the audio stream from the incident available on LiveATC.net, Whitall-Scherfee can be heard telling the airport tower operator “I’ve got a power failure, I’m (going to) return to field.” When the operator asked if he required assistance, Whitall-Scherfee is not heard from again.
Three people were aboard the plane, Gregor said.
Placer County Sheriff’s Office tweeted at about 9:30 a.m. that one fatality had been confirmed. Shortly after 11 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office tweeted that a second person had died, and that coroner officials were on the scene.
The crash site is located south of the airport, between Highway 267 and the Northstar mountain area, said Officer Pete Mann, a spokesman with California Highway Patrol in Truckee.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
This story was updated July 19 to reflect air traffic communications at the time of the crash.