Several people were killed in a small single-engine airplane crash near South Lake Tahoe, California, Saturday night. Authorities investigating the crash say that the private plane crashed into a wooded area shortly after it took off from an airport on the southern side of the lake about 9:48 p.m., setting off a one-acre fire. None of the people aboard the aircraft survived the crash.
According to the Associated Press, the airplane was registered to Francisco J. Delamora of Fresno, Calif. Mr. Delamora owns Jdm Transport Inc., a Fresno-based trucking company.
Authorities have not yet confirmed the identities of the people killed in the crash because the fire consumed much of the wreckage, but a dispatcher with Jdm Transport said that Mr. Delamora had taken a personal trip to the lake for the day with his wife, 7-year-old daughter, and two friends. They had planned to return Saturday night. Firefighters reportedly battled the blaze for more than 90 minutes before putting it out.
Witnesses said the airplane appeared to be having engine problems as it attempted to make a turn just after takeoff. During the turn, the aircraft’s nose pointed downward and the plane descended.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the same airplane was involved in a crash in Destin, Florida in 2005. A different person owned the airplane at that time. No fatalities or injuries were associated with that crash.
The NTSB is leading a probe of the crash, but it normally takes several months before the agency can definitively say what caused the crash. Oftentimes the exact cause of the small airplane crashes remains unknown. However, NTSB investigators typically release preliminary findings days or weeks after a crash.