Saturday, September 23, 2023

Plane Crashes East of Willits Injuring Pilot and Causing Small Fire 


After receiving a report about around 8:40 a.m., first responders are on their way to a plane crash that reportedly occurred in the hills east of Willits that resulted in a head injury and ignited a small brush fire as well. 

A CAL FIRE helicopter is at the Eden Valley airstrip at the scene of the crash. The helicopter pilot confirmed he located a small crashed plane and characterized the fire as “extinguished.”

Scanner traffic and the California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Information page indicate The injured pilot was transported into Willits by a passing driver. The two contacted authorities when they arrived into Willits. 

Initially, despite attempts to get the plane’s tail number from the pilot, the pilot’s injuries left the person unable to speak with dispatch. Now, with first responders at scene, the Federal Aviation Administration is being contacted.

UPDATE 9:42 a.m.: There were actually two occupants of the aircraft, one that was injured and hospitalized and one who walked away without injuries. The two are reportedly at Willits’s Howard Hospital.

The Incident Commander is reporting that he cannot, at this time, locate the plane’s tail number for identification purposes.

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Please remember that this story is unfolding. Information is being reported as we gather it. However, some of the information coming from witnesses and initial official reports could be wrong. We will do our best to get the facts but, in the case that something is inaccurate, we will update with correct information as soon as we can.

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  1. Both occupants were injured! And both were extremely heroic! The pilot sacrificed his body for his girlfriend and threw himself on her when he knew the plane was crashing. He took the hardest impact. When the plane crashed and it caught fire, she grabbed him and pulled him out of the burning plane since he was unconscious. She had internal bleeding, but was able to save him! She’s going to recover, but he has to fight for his life now! Please pray!

  2. These people were wreckless on an unpermitted strip. Funds need to be reimbursed to Cal Fire as
    well as the County. Illegal “cannabis strips” need to be reported and dismantled.

    • This was not a marijuana landing strip for an illegal grow! These were two very straightedge people who were attempting to fly out to a mountain biking trail! It’s also not illegal to make your own runway! Do your research and have some respect for the people who were injured! They were not wreck less, the plane malfunctioned and it wouldn’t pull up. This could have happened to anyone!

    • You disgust me. How dare you make assumptions about this situation and the people involved??? Do you know this family? I do! This man is an amazing human, a badass pilot, and flew in to visit his family. This has nothing to do with illegal cannabis and for you to post this comment is completely disrespectful to the grieving families praying their loved one survives this tragic accident.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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