Three passengers are dead after a private plane crashed in the Lake Tahoe area. On Monday, the plane was preparing to land at the Truckee Tahoe Airport in Northern California. Officials later said it went down in a wooded area near the airport.
As a result, the plane crash sparked a small forest fire, which firefighters managed to extinguish. As of now, the officials have not yet released the names of the deceased.
“It was very fortunate where the crash site is that it didn’t hit any residential structures,” said Coroner Shannon Moon. “Everyone at the scene can appreciate that.”
According to Moon, beginning on Tuesday morning, investigators would begin working to identify the victims. “We haven’t positively identified anyone on that aircraft,” Moon said. “We’re not releasing any of the potential names or any things that … we’ve been hearing some surmising on some questions as to who was on that aircraft.”
She continued, “At this time, we haven’t confirmed any positive identifications so we’re not releasing any information. She added, “that is also to make sure that we absolutely care for the victims’ families who we have not notified because the victims haven’t been notified.”
Identities Not Yet Revealed in Private Plane Crash
The private jet took off from Idaho at 11:45 am on Monday, according to flight records. The jet hit the ground between two nearby houses, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We’re very fortunate that it landed where it did and that no structures or people on the ground were harmed,” Truckee PD spokesman Deverie Acuff said at the news conference.
A representative for Truckee Tahoe airport said there had been smoke in the Tahoe Basin, but the area surrounding the airport was free from any smoke or haze.
“There were no restrictions to visibility the aircraft could see the airport and they were talking to our control tower,” he said.
According to a recorded conversation, the plane’s pilot radioed in air traffic controllers and told them that he would need to circle the runway before making a landing around 1:18 p.m. “We look forward to seeing you guys,” he said just before reporting that he had spotted the runway.
“It was kind of a shocker, very heartbreaking,” Caroline Bechdolt, Ponderosa Golf Course co-manager, told the outlet. According to Bechdolt, one of the plane’s wheels had broken off and flown into the garage of an adjacent home.
Officials said approximately 14 passengers could fit on the plane along with two crew members. According to Bombardier Aircraft Inc., that specific type of jet can carry 11 passengers and two crew members.
Nearby witnesses said they could feel their homes shake due to the crash. Thankfully, no one was injured on the ground.
People could hear the incoming jet engines’ noises in audio from a nearby home surveillance camera before a loud impact and subsequent crash.