Grass Valley man dies in plane crash
Shortly after telling emergency dispatchers he couldn’t get the motor of his small aircraft started and was going down, a Grass Valley man crashed and died between Banner Mountain and Highway 20 near Nevada City on Sunday.
Nevada County sheriff’s officers and crews from the county Consolidated Fire Protection District were on the scene shortly after the crash occurred at about 4:50 p.m. on private property on Jacks Road, a street a few miles east of Nevada City.
The pilot who died was identified as Steven Lloyd Wilson, 57, of Grass Valley, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re fairly certain it was one of those homemade aircraft,” Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Smith said.
A resident of the neighborhood said he heard the plane crash, ran out to the scene, saw no movement inside the plane and ran back to his house to call 911.
“It made a real racket,” said the man, who declined to give his name.
The silver aircraft with black and white stripes and a military-type star insignia was upside down on the ground. Emergency responders had to cut it apart with the “jaws of life” to get the victim out, said Sheriff’s Sgt. John Casci, who was on the scene.
“He clipped off the tops of some trees, but we’re not completely sure what happened,” Casci said.
The Federal Aviation Administration will arrive Monday to investigate, and deputies secured the crash scene overnight.
The pilot told emergency dispatchers that he was going to crash and would try to find an impact site that had no residences. The plane did not hit any buildings but did come close to a home and an outbuilding.
City Editor Trina Kleist contributed to this report. To contact Staff Photographer John Hart, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4254. To contact Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4237.
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