Officials probing cause of fatal plane crash near Incline Village |

Officials probing cause of fatal plane crash near Incline Village

Kyle Magin / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

Local and federal officials are investigating an airplane crash that killed the pilot either late Thursday night or early Friday morning in the mountains about two miles northwest of Incline Village.

While full details are unknown, Federal Aviation Administration and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office officials say the man, whose name will not be released until next-of-kin is notified, was flying a four-seat, single-engine Cessna airplane when he crashed near the Mount Baldy peak.

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Brooke Keast said the pilot was a man in his 50s, and his family is out of the country, so his name will not be released until today.

It is unknown exactly when the airplane crashed, officials said, and an official cause had yet to be determined. Keast said Washoe County search-and-rescue teams found the plane Friday morning after it was spotted by helicopters shortly after dawn.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the man took off from an airport in Palo Alto at about 8:10 p.m. Thursday. He said the man did not file a flight plan with the Palo Alto airport. Keast and Gregor said the man was the plane’s lone occupant.

“From what Search and Rescue can tell, there isn’t anything pointing toward other passengers,” Keast said. “There weren’t any other prints or luggage at the plane that would point to any other people besides the pilot.”

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Keast said an emergency beacon that is designed to activate when planes crash began alerting authorities at about 3 a.m. Friday, although Keast noted that may not be exactly when the crash happened.

“Nevada County actually received the transmissions first and alerted aircraft from the Nevada Civil Air Patrol,” Keast said.

Helicopters from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, civil air patrol and Nevada Division of Forestry couldn’t view the accident scene at Mount Baldy until dawn, Keast said, because of visibility issues.

Washoe County Search and Rescue was called in around 8 a.m.