5 dead in Nevada crash of medical plane that may have broke apart before crash

Feb 26, 2023, 7:08 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 2:45 pm

NTSB investigators documenting wreckage of a Pilatus PC-12 airplane at the crash site in Dayton, NV...

NTSB investigators documenting wreckage of a Pilatus PC-12 airplane at the crash site in Dayton, NV. The medical air transport flight, operated by Guardian Flight, crashed on Feb. 24 while enroute from Reno, Nevada, to Salt Lake City, Utah. (NTSB)


(CNN) — A medical services airplane that crashed in Western Nevada Friday night and killed all five people on board appears to have broken up mid-flight, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says.

Those killed included the plane’s pilot, the flight’s nurse and paramedic, along with a patient and a family member of the patient after the airplane crashed near Stagecoach about 9:45 p.m. Friday, according to Care Flight, a service provided through REMSA Health.

“We are heartbroken to report that we have now received confirmation from Central Lyon County Fire Department that none of the five people on board survived,” the organization said in a statement on Facebook early Saturday. “We are in the process of notifying their family members.”

NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at a news conference Sunday that the flight, which was operated by Guardian Flight, departed Reno en route to Salt Lake City, Utah, at approximately 9 p.m. local time.

The flight was in the air for about 14 minutes and had reached an altitude of just over 19,000 when radar noticed the plane was in a descending right turn at a high rate of descent, Landsberg said.

The last radar return showed the plane at an altitude of 11,000. “The evidence that we have at this point is that the aircraft broke up in flight,” Landsberg said.

Several parts of the plane have been recovered but the aircraft wasn’t equipped with a cockpit voice or fight data recorder, Landsberg said.

5 dead, including patient, in medical flight crash in Nevada

On Saturday, Care Flight said the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department and the Central Lyon Fire Department were coordinating with the NTSB to determine the cause of the crash.

Authorities in Lyon County — which encompasses Stagecoach — received multiple calls of a possible aircraft crash around 9:15 p.m Friday. First responders from Lyon and Douglas counties responded and located the airplane at around 11:15 p.m.

Landsberg said that an 11-member team with the NTSB would be on site for several days to gather evidence.

He said the agency would be focusing its investigation on the pilot, the aircraft, maintenance records, the fuel on the aircraft, weather conditions — as icing and moderate turbulence were reported — the company’s dispatch procedures and its general policies.

A preliminary report would be available in the next two weeks, Landsberg said.

REMSA Health is currently in what it called a “passive stand down” for all flights across the company, adding that it intends to work with internal operations to determine when services may return.

Stagecoach is about 25 miles southeast of Reno.

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5 dead in Nevada crash of medical plane that may have broke apart before crash