Family survives plane crash at airport
A small airplane carrying a pilot and three family members crashed during takeoff Sunday at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport.
Three of the four occupants suffered only minor injuries, said Truckee Fire Protection District personnel who responded to the accident and transported the family to the Tahoe Forest Hospital.
The pilot, Tomas Pilar of Santa Rosa was flying with his two children, Kevin and Nicole, ages five and six, and his mother, Jana Janecka of the Czech Republic.
The accident was witnessed by Lance Barrett of Truckee, who was watching planes take off near the airport with his girlfriend on his way to work at nearby High Sierra Fitness. They were watching from a truck park near the control towers. Barrett, who is also a pilot, was explaining to his girlfriend about takeoffs when they saw the crash.
“We saw the plane take off and it looked like the wind took up the left wing and took (the plane) over,” said Barrett, who was the first person to arrive on the scene. After witnessing the accident, Barrett tried to drive his car to the accident site, but was stopped by deep snow and traveled the rest of way by foot. According to Barrett, the left wing clipped a four-by-four marker on the runway and was completely torn from the plane.
The small plan, a single-engine Piper with four place seating, had substantial damage to the exterior, said Barry Bratton, operations supervisor at the airport.
The accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the the National Transportation and Safety Board, and no details about the cause of the wreck were available, said Bratton.
According to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office report of the incident, Pilar said that the aircraft stalled and lost power on takeoff. When the NCSO arrived on the scene, they located the plane approximately 200 yards northeast of the runway in the snow.
The crash occurred at about 5 p.m. Sunday. According to TFPD, the Pilar suffered a broken nose, his mother had lacerations to the head, and one child was bruised. All occupants were wearing their seat belts when the accident occurred.
Barrett said all four occupants were already outside of the planewhen he arrived on the scene.
“I calmed the two children down, then carried the pilot’s mother and told the children to follow,” said Barrett, who walked Janecka and the two children over to a Nevada County Sheriff’s vehicle.
All four family members were released from the hospital Sunday night.
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Nevada County recorded 66 new COVID-19 cases on Friday making the new total 16,474. There were 140 active cases, 16,194 people released from isolation, one person hospitalized locally and 140 total deaths.