National News

3 dead in small plane crash in Reno were bound for Bay Area

Posted September 12

WRAL News

— Three people who died in a small plane crash into a vehicle parking lot at Reno-Tahoe International Airport had been headed to the San Francisco Bay Area, an airport official said Monday.

The Washoe County coroner's office identified two of the dead as Robert Drescher, 57, of Stevenson Ranch, California, and Edward Mumbert, 46, of Santa Cruz, California.

The hometown of the third victim, Ronni Hernandez, 34, wasn't immediately known.

The single-engine Piper Cherokee that crashed on takeoff Sunday evening had been bound for San Carlos, California, airport spokesman Brian Kulpin said.

Several vehicles in the Reno airport parking lot were damaged, but officials said no one on the ground was killed or injured.

Kulpin said airport operations weren't affected by the crash.

The plane was registered to a corporation in New Mexico, where a telephone call for a person listed as a company officer went to a wrong number.

The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, agency spokesmen said.

It was the second fatal small plane crash in two weeks near the airport in northern Nevada.

On Aug. 30, two people died aboard a single-engine Beechcraft A36 when the aircraft crashed into a recreational vehicle park in Sparks, about a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from an airport runway. No one on the ground was hurt.

The dead in that case were identified as the pilot, John Brown, 73, and passenger James Elliker, 50, both of Sparks.

Authorities say the plane hit the ground nose-first and caught fire, damaging several RVs and vehicles.

A preliminary transportation safety board report said Brown had flown Elliker and another passenger on a business trip from Reno to Henderson, near Las Vegas, and then to French Valley Airport in Murietta, California.

Brown and Elliker were returning to Reno when the crash occurred.

Brown was an experienced commercial pilot and flight instructor with more than 11,000 hours of flying time, according to the report.

The plane was on approach to the airport, and no distress call was heard and no unusual sounds or signs of trouble were seen before it rolled over and plunged into the Rivers Edge RV park next to the Truckee River in Sparks.

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