Plane crashes in South Lake Tahoe meadow, authorities presume there are no survivors
A small airplane crashed in the Barton Meadows area in South Lake Tahoe sparking a wildland fire on Saturday night. Presumably there are no survivors. The crash was reported at 9:48 p.m. after the plane took off from Lake Tahoe Airport, said El Dorado County Sheriff's Lt. Pete Van Arnum early Sunday morning. Witnesses reported the plane was experiencing engine trouble and was seen moving downward before it crashed into flames, he said.
There is debris scattered in the meadow that is believed to be part of the crash, said El Dorado County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Applegate. The area has been roped off to the public. Authorities are awaiting a team of investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The fire from the crash burned about one acre. Van Arnum did not know how many were on board, or what kind of aircraft crashed. He said no flight plan was filed. It is also unknown if the plane was part of the 23rd Annual Lake in the Sky Airshow that was held earlier Saturday at the Lake Tahoe Airport.
Frates, who lives on Oregon Avenue about one-half mile from the crash site, said that he was outside at the time and heard an airplane take off and then heard sounds that were like "a lawnmower that got something caught in the blade. There were two quick cracking noises and then it was over."
South Lake Tahoe resident Susie Meyers reports via Facebook of a "huge ball of flames in the meadow by Barton Hospital." When she arrived "we found a plane that had crashed into the meadow. No word on survivors."
Fire crews report one fire with a few trees having burned because of the wreckage. The fire was said to be contained as of about 11:10 p.m.
For updates to this story go to www.SouthTahoeNow.com.