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July 22, 2013
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Palo Alto man killed in South Tahoe plane crash

A Palo Alto man was killed and his wife was injured following a single-engine plane crash in South Lake Tahoe Monday morning.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane take off from Lake Tahoe Airport about 11:15 a.m. and head north before veering right and losing altitude, said Lt. Pete Van Arnum, with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.

The plane hit several trees and crashed into a wooded area, landing upside down about a mile east of the airport.

Steven Lefton died at the scene from injuries suffered in the crash. Karen Lefton, his wife, was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with moderate, but not life-threatening, injuries, Van Arnum said.

“The wife is real lucky,” according to the sheriff’s spokesman.

An off-duty flight nurse was walking her dog in the area of the crash and was able to provide immediate medical help to Karen Lefton and direct emergency resources to the scene.

Additional emergency responders arrived in minutes, Van Arnum said. The plane was leaking large quantities of fuel and firefighters doused the plane with fire-retardant foam to prevent a fire, Van Arnum said.

He could not immediately provide the ages of the victims.

The plane involved in Monday’s crash was a 1963 Mooney M20C, a single-engine, four-seat plane with a weight capacity of up to 12,499 pounds, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The cause of the incident is under investigation. Personnel from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are traveling to the scene and will investigate what led to the crash, Van Arnum said. The sheriff’s spokesman said investigators will likely be on scene for several days.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 23, 2013 12:10AM Published Jul 23, 2013 09:14AM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.