Tahoe Plane Crash Kills Pilot, Under Investigation


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Investigators are working on determining what caused a plane to crash Monday morning near Lake Tahoe.

Law enforcement officers reported that 67-year-old, Steven Lefton, was killed on impact of the crash. Steven Lefton's wife, Karen Lefton, was pinned in the wreckage of the crash and sustained moderate injuries. Luckily, Beth Frisby, who happened to be an off duty flight nurse, was walking her dog in the area and was able to provided medical aid for several minutes until the emergency crews arrived. "I saw a plane fly very low overhead," said Frisby. A few minutes later, Frisby walked upon the wreckage. "There was a woman calling for help," she said. "She appeared to be in the passenger seat, and she was awake and talking to me." According to the El Dorado County Sherrif's Office, Karen was then airlifted to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration stated that around 11:15 a.m., the 1963 Mooney M20C crashed in a wooded area shortly after takeoff from the Lake Tahoe Airport. "Several witnesses at the airport saw it take off and start banking and losing altitude," announced Lt. Pete Van Arnum, the spokesman for the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. "It had difficulty getting lift."

Arnum told reporters that there were over 20 firefighters, six to seven fire rigs, a medical rig, a number of law enforcement vehicles, and a CalStar helicopter who were able to respond to the crash. Arnum also stated that he believes that the intense heat could have played a factor in the crash. "They are fairly powerful and in the summertime, with the high-density altitude, it's hard to get lift," said Arnum. "It could have been a factor."

The cause of the crash is being investigated by The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.