5 killed in plane crash; Bay Area residents die in weekend accident
Five people were killed when their Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft crashed after lifting off from Truckee-Tahoe Airport shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday.
Killed in the accident were John H. Ewert, 64, Margaret J. Ewert, 64, Thomas W. Ewert, 39, all of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Marcia L. Ewert, 38, and Jennifer C. Marion, 26, both of San Jose, Calif.
Investigators said the plane, en route to the San Jose area, took off in a northwesterly direction. While making a turn, the plane lost speed and nose dived into the ground, Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Jack Bayer said.
Bayer said members of the sheriff’s office and the Truckee Fire Protection District responded to the airport after receiving a 911 emergency call at 9:08 p.m. Emergency personnel found the aircraft engulfed in flames in a field of sagebrush several hundred yards south of the runway.
Safety board investigation
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived Monday morning and began photographing the scene and collecting evidence. The cause of the accident is pending NTSB’s investigation.
One airport official said the aircraft refueled before takeoff, speculating the passenger-to-fuel weight ratio could have played a part in the crash and subsequent explosion.
Marion Haslop, Truckee resident and mother of crash victim Jennifer Marion, said she, her younger daughter, Jennifer’s “second mother” Sheila Crosslay and grandmother Kay Crosslay watched in horror as the plane made a tight U-turn, went over on one side and plummeted toward the ground.
The Ewerts and Marion had flown to Truckee Sunday to visit for Mother’s Day and were returning to San Jose when the plane crashed. John Ewert had taken three people up for a sight-seeing flight earlier in the day, she added.
Haslop said her daughter grew up in Sacramento as Jennifer Parsons, and enjoyed track and field and music while attending Cordova and Kennedy high schools. Shortly before graduating from California State University, Sacramento, with a degree in social work, Jennifer took her mother’s first name as her surname, Haslop said.
Marion worked as director of services for the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, Haslop said.
John and Margaret Ewert were accomplished pilots with more than 20 years of experience. They owned and operated Ewert’s Photo shops in Santa Clara.
Truckee residents Tom and Lynn Meadows befriended the Ewerts 15 years ago in Santa Clara. Lynn Meadows said they had seen the couple 10 days ago in Santa Maria.
“They were both wonderful people and good, cautious pilots,” Lynn said. “One always wonders exactly what did happen up there.”
Margaret Ewert was a member of the Santa Clara Valley 99s – a national women pilots association – and was recently elected Governor of the club’s Southwest Chapter. Lynn Meadows said she was very active with the 99s, participating in fly-ins, airmarking and seminars.
Thomas and Marcia Ewert worked in the family-run photo shop, and Thomas was ready to take over the business for his father, Haslop said. Marcia was also Jennifer’s partner, she said.
“Losing Marcia was like losing a second daughter for me,” Haslop said.
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