Pilot dies after solo crash near Highway 174
Authorities identified 30-year-old Ronald Hooper, of Rancho Cordova, as the victim in a Tuesday solo plane crash near Highway 174 and Meadow Drive, confirming he died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Daniel Ramey, firefighter and public information officer for Peardale-Chicago Park Fire Protection District, said first responders at the scene Tuesday “quickly got to the plane and determined there was one occupant inside, and at that point they had their … equipment handy and ready to start to extricate him” from the plane, reported by officials to be a small, single-engine Piper Tomahawk.
Peardale-Chicago Park Engine 57, Ophir Hill Engine 6269, and Grass Valley/Nevada City Engine 5 responded to the scene after a 3:43 p.m. 911 call, alongside California Highway Patrol, Nevada County sheriff’s deputies, and Sierra Nevada Ambulance personnel, said Ramey.
Ramey said that based on the damage to the plane, it was “absolutely” clear to responders upon arrival that the pilot had sustained severe injuries from the crash.
He said the firefighters were able to stabilize Hooper and move him onto a gurney. A Sierra Nevada Ambulance then transported him to a landing zone, from which he was transported to a trauma center by helicopter. Officials said this transport was to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where the patient later died.
Because the crash occurred around 100 feet away from the roadway, according to California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Mike Steele, there was minimal impact to traffic. Steele said California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene Tuesday afternoon primarily to evaluate the impact to traffic and determine if there was threat of hazardous materials, in which case they would have sent out appropriate alerts, but they did not need to do so in this case.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, according to Federal Aviation Administration Public Affairs Specialist Ian Gregor,
He wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon that the National Transportation Safety Board would be determining the probable cause of the crash, which he described as having occurred after “the pilot … reported engine problems.” The FAA, however, will be looking at “nine specific factors in every accident investigation including pilot qualifications, pilot performance, condition of the aircraft and weather,” according to Gregor.
He declined to say how long the agency’s investigation would take.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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