A 1981 Cessna fixed-wing single-engine aircraft crashed on a private air strip near Hogan Dam Road between Valley Springs and Copperopolis Thursday afternoon.
Two men were airlifted to Modesto-area hospitals for treatment of their injuries as a result of the crash.
Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rachelle Whiting said there were multiple subjects on the property at the time of the crash, and one witness reported that the low-flying airplane may have clipped a tree at the end of the runway.
It is still unknown if the craft was taking off or landing at the time, she said, but the pilot, a 72-year-old man from Lake Camanche in Calaveras County, and the passenger, a 75-year-old man from Pine Grove in Amador County, did not own property near the airstrip.
Whiting said the Sheriff’s Office was communicating Thursday with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to provide information to assist in their investigation to determine the cause of the crash.
Whiting said emergency personnel responsibility at the scene was to render aid, provide security and determine if any criminal acts had occured before forwarding investigative information to the FAA and the NTSB.
Whiting said she is not familiar with the legal rules governing flights to and from a private airstrip, if the pilot was in compliance during the time of the crash, or his personal history and experience with flying.
Emergency personnel arrived on the rural scene about 1:45 p.m. and found that the two occupants had already extricated themselves from the aircraft.
Whiting said several patrol deputies, a patrol supervisor, Sheriff’s Office investigators and members of the Sheriff’s Office administration all responded to the scene along with Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection, American Legion ambulances, a Copperopolis Fire Department ambulance, and two air ambulance helicopters.
After the men received medical attention, they were airlifted to Modesto-area hospitals for the treatment of their injuries, the extent of which were unknown, Whiting said.
As the NTSB conducts their investigation, they will make a determination if the plane will be removed from the area, Whiting said.
Whiting was not sure if the plane held a “black box,” or an electronic flight recording device, which could provide data that could assist in the investigation.