Tahoe plane crash leaves pilot seriously injured

A pilot from Bakersfield was seriously injured after a Piper Aztec twin-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff near Lake Tahoe.

Kevin Bumen, director of aviation at Truckee Tahoe Airport, said the pilot was the only person on board when the Piper Aztec crashed on airport grounds and caught fire about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher Gerri Barriger says the Piper Aztec pilot was taken to a hospital in Reno.

Federal aviation records show the plane is registered to Brian Mettler of Bakersfield. A woman who identified herself as his wife declined to comment when reached by telephone shortly after the Piper Aztec crash.

“He looked in surprisingly good shape for a guy who had just run his plane into the ground,” said Chaco Mohler, a publisher at the Tahoe Quarterly in Truckee, who witnessed the crash from his office window a block from the airport.

Bumen says federal officials will be investigating the cause of the  Piper Aztec crash.




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