[UPDATE 11:17 p.m. Four Fatalities Confirmed] Humboldt CO. Sheriff Searching for Missing Plane; Three People Believed on Board
At approximately 1 a.m. today, the pilot of a twin-engine Piper PA31 radioed that he had smoke in the cockpit of his plane. The aircraft, tail number N661TC, which had been scheduled to fly from Crescent City to Oakland has not been heard of since. Three people are believed to have been on board.
Radar contact was lost with the plane about five miles northeast of the Arcata Airport, according to information from Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. Hanson said, the pilot had said he was going to return to Crescent City.
The Sheriff’s Office is searching for the plane, said Hanson. Because of the fog, aircraft has not been able to go up to search.
We’ll update you when we learn more.
UPDATE 9:50 a.m.: EMS1, an information service for emergency medical personnel, reports that this is a medical flight. Staff writes, ” A Cal‐Ore Life Flight fixed-wing aircraft, with three crew members and a patient on board, lost contact with its originating airport early Friday morning.” Read more here.
UPDATE 10 a.m.: Scanner traffic indicates that a possible crash site has been found. We’ll update as soon as possible.
UPDATE 10:02 a.m.: Helicopter crews are setting down “near the old nursery” (We think near Fieldbrook) to search the crash site.
UPDATE 10:24 a.m.: According to the scanner, the FAA is requesting the crash site be secured.
UPDATE 10:39 a.m.: Debris is smoldering and fire crews are on the scene.
UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: Visibility was low this morning when the plane was in trouble. The Crescent City airport had 4 miles visibility at 1 a.m. http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=eka&sid=Kcec&num=72&raw=0 TThe Arcata airport had three miles visibility at one a.m. http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=eka&sid=Kacv&num=72&raw=0
UPDATE 11:12 a.m.: Vegetation fire from the crash is requiring more fire crews including a helicopter.
Press release from Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
This morning at about 10 a.m. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue teams located a crash site on private timber company in the Cranell area of Humboldt County which is located to the north of McKinleyville. At this time at least two fatalities have been confirmed. National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.
Continue to check this page and our Facebook page for updates.
Original news release at 8:15 a.m.:
This is all of the preliminary information we have on a missing plane in the Arcata area:
The pilot of a twin-engine Piper PA31 declared an emergency due to smoke in the cockpit around 1 a.m. Friday.
The plane was flying from Crescent City to Oakland.
The pilot indicated he was going to return to Crescent City.
Radar contact with the aircraft was lost about 5 miles northeast of Arcata Airport.
We believe there were three people on board.
The Humboldt County Sheriff is searching for the aircraft.
The tail number is N661TC.
UPDATE 11:17 p.m.: Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
On 07/29/2016 at about 2030 hours, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division completed recovery of the victims from this accident. Tragically, four fatalities were confirmed. All four subjects, three females and one male, were recovered from inside the wreckage of the aircraft.
The ages and identities of the victims are being withheld at this time pending identification and notification of next of kin.