News Plane Crashes — 29 April 2017

UPDATE (9:03 a.m.): The Kern County Coroner’s Office has identified the man killed in Thursday’s plane crash as 75-year-old Gilbert Gutierrez of Phoenix.


KEENE — One person died in a plane crash Thursday afternoon, Kern County Fire Department Capt. Jason Knaggs said near the crash site.

A passerby reported seeing a single propeller plane go down on the side of the mountain northeast of Highway 58, about a mile from the highway, Knaggs said, and reported it to officials at 1:56 p.m.

“The aircraft, a Nanchang China YAK18, crashed under unknown circumstances near Keene,” Allen Kenitzer from the FAA Office of Communications wrote in an email to Tehachapi News and The Bakersfield Californian. He added that one person was on the plane.

Firefighters from Keene searched the area by helicopter and found the crash site at 2:40 p.m. They lowered a firefighter to the scene in a hoist operation and secured the area, Knaggs said.

The plane was in pieces. There was no indication of a fire, Knaggs said.

A command post for responding agencies was set up at Highway 58 and Broome Road, firefighters said.

In addition to the fire department, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Sheriff’s Office personnel were at the scene. Later in the evening, deputies were awaiting the FAA to arrive and take over the investigation, sheriff’s Senior Deputy Pat McNeal.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Kenitzer wrote.

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