Medical Plane Broke Up in Air Over Calif. Before Crashing, Killing 4


A preliminary report from the National Transportation and Safety Board says a small medical plane broke up in flight last month and then crashed into a densely forested Northern California mountain range, killing all four people aboard.

The Piper PA31 was carrying a flight nurse, a transport medic and a patient from Crescent City, near the Oregon border, to Oakland when the pilot said he saw smoke in the cockpit and declared an emergency July 29.

The NTSB’s early findings emerged from interviews with witnesses, an investigation at the crash scene and data collection. The report says both engines separated from their firewalls but it wasn’t immediately clear if that happened in flight or on impact.

A woman camping nearby reported seeing a large, dome-shaped flash, followed by another flash and a loud rumble.