Truckee plane crash survivor faces long road to recovery
On the morning of July 17, Eric Raptosh and his husband Peter Jackson took off in a single engine plane from the Truckee Airport with their pilot, Kenneth Whitall-Scherfee, to take pictures of Pyramid Lake.
Within minutes the plane experienced engine problems and went down alongside Highway 267 crashing one mile southeast of the airport.
The crash proved fatal for Whitall-Scherfee, age 60, and Jackson, age 55, leaving Raptosh as the sole survivor. The 60-year-old suffered a broken neck, broken ribs, broken leg, extensive brain and spinal cord injuries and the loss of his husband.
Raptosh was finally discharged from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Center in San Jose last week, following numerous surgeries and hours of rehab.
“I have things to live for, you can look down and be proud of me, my friends can be proud of me, my caretakers can be proud of me,” he told KCRA News prior to his release.
According to a GoFundMe page set up to fund his medical expenses, Raptosh is a photographer who has also worked seasonally as a ticket taker at Sugar Bowl Resort.
“He’s the kind of person who lights up a room with his quick wit, good humor, and enthusiasm,” the post read. “Eric’s presence has graced many people’s lives, all of whom no doubt wish to support him on his road to recovery.”
Raptosh is still wheelchair bound but has made “tremendous progress” according to a release from the rehabilitation center. However, he is still in need of additional care.
According to Maury Kendall, a representative of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Raptosh will be returning to the Tahoe area to live with friends and family who will help him through the recovery process.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.