UPDATE: Pilot dies in solo plane crash off Highway 174 | TheUnion.com
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UPDATE: Pilot dies in solo plane crash off Highway 174

Liz Kellar and Victoria Penate
Staff Writers

UPDATE WEDNESDAY, NOV. 11:

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 vpenate@theunion.com.

UPDATE on Wednesday, Nov. 11:

Just after 3:40 PM, the Nevada County Regional Dispatch Center received numerous 911 calls reporting an aircraft crash near the intersection of State Highway 174 and Meadow Drive. Rescue personnel, the California Highway Patrol, and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. Witnesses reported the plane had lost power before crashing away from the residences in the area. A small, single engine, Piper Tomahawk airplane was located on an undeveloped lot near the intersection. The plane had crashed and was upside down on the cockpit with the pilot trapped inside. Rescue personnel were able to remove the severely injured pilot who was then transported, via air ambulance, to the Sutter Roseville Hospital where he died from his injuries. The pilot was identified as 30-year-old Ronald Hooper from Rancho Cordova, California. Sheriff Deputies have secured the scene and are awaiting the arrival of investigators from the FAA and NTSB.

Initially posted:

The male pilot of a single-engine airplane was transported via helicopter to a regional hospital Tuesday afternoon after crashing off Highway 174, authorities said.

The pilot of the Piper PA-38 reported engine problems around 3:40 p.m. before crashing into trees about 1.5 miles southwest of the Nevada County Airport, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor. The pilot was the only person onboard.

According to dispatch reports, the plane landed upside down near Meadow Drive. The pilot’s name and the extent of his injuries were not known at the time.

First responders included firefighters from Peardale-Chicago Park, Ophir Hill, and Grass Valley/Nevada City fire departments, as well as Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol, said Peardale-Chicago Park Fire public information officer Daniel Ramey.

The FAA will release the aircraft tail number after investigators verify it at the scene, Gregor said in an email.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, and the safety board will determine its probable cause, Gregor added.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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