On Thursday, October 14, 2021, a small plane crash in Sacramento County, California left four family members with severe injuries. A dog aboard the flight did not survive.
The plane crash occurred at approximately 4:18 p.m. local time near the corner of Alta Mesa Road and Blake Road in Wilton, which is roughly 21 miles outside of Sacramento. Authorities say the airplane took off from the runway at Alta Mesa Airpark. Pilot Oren Breedlove was flying with his pregnant wife and the couple’s two nephews aged 13 and 17 when something went wrong. The plane crashed and caught fire in the front yard of a residence on Alta Mesa Road.
Breedlove’s wife, and the two nephews were able to crawl out from the downed plane. Steven Scharf, a good Samaritan who happened to be passing through the area in his car, ran to the scene and asked how many people were aboard. The victims told him there were four in the plane. Just then, Breedlove started crawling through flames with a broken leg. Scharf sprayed him down with a fire extinguisher, then sprayed the wreckage. Flames engulfed the downed plane moments later.
Breedlove sustained the most serious injuries of the group with the broken leg and burns. He was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to repair the broken leg and received care in the burn unit. The other three victims also sustained burn injuries in the plane crash and were treated at UC Davis. All four victims are expected to make a full recovery.
What Caused the Wilton Plane Crash?
Scharf told authorities that he was driving alongside the runway at Alta Mesa Airpark and noticed the small plane as it was taking off. He thought something didn’t look right, then seconds later, his vehicle was side-by-side with the aircraft.
Wilton Fire District Chief Jeff Cookson said it was a miracle that no one was killed in the plane crash. “The pilot did a great job avoiding homes and power lines when he went down,” Chief Cookson said. “This could have been so much worse.”
Oren Breedlove is an experienced pilot and well-known in the aviation industry. He is a managing partner with a Sacramento helicopter company that conducts testing for student pilots.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived at the crash scene a day after the incident to begin an investigation into the crash cause. Veteran aviation attorney Ronald L. M. Goldman says investigators will be looking at several factors, including the actions of the pilot, maintenance records for the plane, and signs of mechanical failure.
“Based on the pilot’s experience and what we know so far in the early stages of the investigation, I don’t think this was pilot error,” Goldman says. “We will have to wait and see what the investigation uncovers but, in my opinion, this looks the pilot was dealing with mechanical failure prior to the crash.”
Small Plane Crash Attorneys with Offices Throughout California
The California plane crash lawyers at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have a proven track record representing victims of aviation accidents throughout the state and nationwide. We know what it takes to hold negligent parties accountable for causing catastrophic injury or wrongful death in small plane crashes.
Our firm has handled cases stemming from over 100 Cessna, Piper, or Beechcraft plane crashes. We have also handled cases involving aircraft manufactured by Bellanca, Grumman, Luscombe, Mooney, Maule, Rockwell and many others.
In any case we take on, our mission is to obtain justice and maximize compensation for you and your family. We also seek to improve aviation safety to help deter future accidents.
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