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August 26, 2012
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Plane crash investigation under way

Investigators are at the scene of a plane crash that occurred Saturday night.

As of noon Sunday, Federal Aviation Administration officials had reportedly begun their investigation. No one was available to comment to media. The number of victims involved in the crash is still uncertain. The area where the plane had crashed had been cordoned off. No pieces of the aircraft were visible from Winnemucca Avenue.

Winnemucca Avenue resident Dr. Jean Makris said she was home Saturday night when she heard the crash.

"I heard a noise first then saw a fireball. It burned very hot and brightly," she said. "I called 911, everyone called 911; and some of us went into the meadow to see if there were any survivors. It seemed that there were not."

Makris said emergency crews arrived at the scene and moved everyone out of the meadow so they could fight the fire and begin the investigation.

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A plane crashed Saturday night and burst into flames in a meadow near Barton Hospital.

According to El Dorado County Sheriff's Lt. Pete Van Arnum, witnesses heard an engine having trouble about 9:40 p.m., then saw the plane turn, dip and crash into brush near the edge of the meadow. It burst into flames upon impact, creating a fire that spread between one-quarter and one-half acre. He did not know whether anyone but the pilot was on board, but said not much was left after the fire.

The plane was a small craft, likely with a single engine, but no ID was visible on the tail once the fire was put out, he said. Van Arnum said there was no reason to believe the incident was connected to the Lake in the Sky Air Show, as the event had ended before the crash took place.

Winnemucca Avenue was closed down at Jean Avenue as firefighters and rescuers made their way to the scene. As of midnight, firefighters were still conducting mop-up operations at these scene. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have both been alerted to the incident, he said. Police will keep the scene secure until daylight.

The Lake Tahoe Airport runway is situated less than a mile away from the scene of the crash.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 27, 2012 01:12PM Published Aug 26, 2012 03:55PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.